CHICKEN

 

60 years ago, chicken was a special treat, with perhaps a kilo being eaten a year..

Now 50 billion chickens are hatched and reared worldwide each year.

 

That's 950 million chickens in the UK alone.

 

Which is 2.5 million a day.

 

Or 30 chickens every second.

 

People are eating chicken as a healthier, or more environmentally friendly form of meat, but the sheer scale and intensity of resources, waste, and animal cruelty are unfortunately still gargantuan. 

 

Recommendation

Buy bananas from The Co-Op, Waitrose or Sainsbury's only.

Only here can you guarentee a more fair trade for workers.

 

Avoid Dole, Del Monte and Chiquiata.

recommendation

If you want to buy highest welfare chicken meat and eggs, buy Organic or Soil Association certificate eggs. 

Avoid chicken and turn to other protein rich vegetables, there are loads! 

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Living Conditions

Although battery cages are now banned in the UK, half of our chickens are still kept in 'enriched cages',  which is startlingly similar to caged battery coops, and only around 10% are higher welfare. 70% of chickens worldwide are kept in intensive farms.

Most chickens will have their beaks trimmed with red hot irons, without aesthetic to prevent cannibalism. 

Chickens will be kept in dim lighting for up to 23 hours a day to avoid mental disturbance and cannibalism.

They will suffer eye conditions, respiratory problems and skin burns from the ammonia caused by the superfluity of droppings. ​​

Living Standards - terms

Food Labels

Enriched cages  Cramped conditions with an A4 sheet of ground space per chicken.

 

Free range 10 chickens per square metre. Some outdoor space, that most chickens rarely see. 10,000 can be kept together. Male chicks are still crushed to death after birth.

RSPCA: 15 chickens per square metre. Sometimes given outdoor space, May occasionally have objects to distract them.

Red Tractor 19 chickens per square metre. No requirement for outdoor space, Also no natural light. And bred to grow unnaturally fast. 

 

Organic Won't debeak, So chickens may peck each other. Organic farms only permit flocks of up to 2,500. However, male chick deaths are still permitted.

 

The Soil Association, Strives for the strictest and most ethical egg. Flocks of birds may not exceed 1,000 and organic certification excludes GM feed and antibiotics.

Health

Globally, chicken meat is expected to account for almost half of the increase in global meat production over the next decade. It is less lauded as dangerous than red meat,full of protein and lower in saturated fats if you avoid frying it without the skin. 

But it is becoming the case that we are eating too much protein, which can have serious health impacts like 49% increased risk of heart failure

High-protein foods such as meat, eggs and dairy are linked to rises in kidney disease. They also are the centre of reams of studies into the complex increase in cancer.  

Slaughter

Naturally, chickens will live up to 6 years, however in conventional 'enriched cage'  farming, they are slaughtered after 6 weeks. Free range chickens last about 8 weeks, and organic up to 12 weeks.

In the UK, there are over 350 licensed slaughter houses, and like any job, there are mistakes and slip-ups. In slaughter houses the pace of the work means that sometimes important but gruesome procedures are mistaken, missed or incomplete leading to immense animal suffering. 

Alternatives

 

It is a common excuse for meat eating that chicken is low in saturated fats and high in protein. But we are actually often over-stepping our protein requirements which can have health drawbacks too.

So, there are loads of protein abundant, delicious cruelty-fee options from the veritable verdant world of vegetables, and the often untrodden world of beans, seeds, pulses and nut butters (my favourite) instead! 

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