Catching, Transport, and Slaughter
At 6 - 12 weeks old, baby “broiler” and “roaster” chickens are cornered and grabbed by catching crews and carried upside down by their legs – struggling, flapping, and crying – to the transport truck. Jammed inside coops they may travel up to 12 hours to the slaughterhouse through heat, wind, rain, sleet, and snow without food or water.
Spent laying hens are simply flung from the battery cages to the transport crates by their wings, feet, legs, head, or whatever is grabbed. They are electrocuted, suffocated, buried alive, gassed, or chopped to pieces, alive, by woodchipper blades. Half-naked from feather loss caused by crowded caging, and terrorized by a lifetime of abuse, hens in transport experience such intense fear that many are paralyzed by the time they reach their final destination –rendering company, slaughterhouse, landfill, grinder. Starved for 4 days before catching, they are a mass of broken bones, oozing abscesses, bruises, and internal hemorrhage. They are covered with the slime of broken eggs and pieces of shells. When not buried alive, these hens are shredded into human food, pet food, mink feed and poultry feed.
At the slaughterhouse, after being held in the trucks for 1 to 12 hours, chickens raised for meat are torn from the cages and hung upside down on a movable rack. As they move towards the killing knife, they are dragged through an electric current that paralyzes them but does not render them unconscious or pain-free. Millions of birds are alive, conscious and breathing not only as their throats are cut but afterwards, when their bodies are plunged into scalding water to remove their feathers. In the scalder “the chickens scream, kick, and their eyeballs pop out of their heads.” The industry calls these birds “redskins” – birds who were scalded while they were still alive.
- More than 20 million farm animals die on way to abattoir in US every year, The Guardian, 23 June 2022
- ‘Dying like flies’: A million chickens die on way from farm to abattoir each year, The Guardian, 26 February 2021
- A Ban on Mail Order Chicks? 24 February 2021
- Urge U.S. Postal Service & Your U.S. Representative to Ban Shipping Live Birds in the Mail 2 October 2020
- Shipping Baby Chicks Through the Mail is Inhumane and Should Be Stopped 13 October 2020
- “I Feel So Bad For Those Turkeys Hauled on Freezing Nights” 16 December 2019
- Chickens in a Truck Accident (1995) 15 March 2016 - youtube.com
- Hatcheries Ship Baby Roosters as Packing Material 23 April 2012
- UPC on Shipping Chicks Like Luggage in Today’s New York Daily News 15 August 2009
- Investigators See Improvement for Turkeys at Sara Lee Plant 5 March 2009
(Also in UPC Spring-Summer 2009 Poultry Press)
- Jane – one tiny chicken foot. . .12 December 2006
- Turkey Deaths are Unacceptable: UPC Letter in Mercury News 7 August 2006
- Thousands of Baby Turkeys Perish in Airline Transport UPC Fall 2006 Poultry Press
- Thousands of Chicks Perish from Neglect 31 July 2006
- Shipping Baby Chicks: Oppose Senate Bill 2395 UPC Spring 2006 Poultry Press