PETITION TARGETS: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), UK Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Millions of baby chickens are suffering broken legs, difficulty breathing, and heart failure after having been bred to grow so fast that their bodies can’t support them.
Most chickens sent to slaughter today — typically babies at just six to eight weeks old, when they are still peeping — weigh up to four times what they did in the 1950s. The rapid growth — and the trapping of baby birds in unhealthily huge, adult-sized bodies — is the result of monstrous genetic manipulation that puts intense strain on their skeletons and internal organs.
In documented cases, some birds flipped over and died when their overtaxed lungs couldn’t pull in enough oxygen for them to breathe. Others suffered heart attacks or foot lesions, broken bones, ruptured tendons, and aching joints — with many birds choosing to sit and not even attempt to walk anymore and birds who collapsed in their own waste.
The scope of these nightmarish horrors also is massive — with an estimated 9 million birds labeled as “broilers” killed each year in the US, another 1.1 billion slaughtered in the UK each year, and an estimated 60 billion suffering birds killed annually worldwide.
While this brutality is bad for the birds, it’s also bad for humans — with research published by Indiana University noting that people who consume these unnaturally big birds were at increased likelihood for clogged arteries, heart issues, and stomach ulcers.
A number of major corporations have committed to phasing out fast-growing breeds. But a 2022 report points out that there’s a huge gap between what many companies say they will do for farmed animals and what concrete, measurable steps they actually take to improve animal welfare.
That’s why it’s time for the United States and the United Kingdom to take decisive action and ban the brutal rapid-growth breeding of chickens and other farmed animals.
DEFRA, responding to outrage from animal advocates and reports that up to 90 percent of chickens raised for meat in the UK grow to unnaturally large sizes, announced in 2022 that the government would be phasing out rapid-growth breeds. We urge them to follow through on that stated commitment as soon as possible — and also serve as a model to the United States that this compassionate change is entirely possible.
While we at Lady Freethinker always advocate for a world where no animals are unnecessarily harmed or killed — including for people’s consumption —these bans are needed NOW to prevent horrific and often hidden suffering as the world transitions to a kinder, plant-based future.
Speak up for farmed animals today and sign our petition urging the USDA and DEFRA to ban rapid-growth breeding and practices in the United States and the United Kingdom.