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Chicken Transport and Slaughter

Chickens who survive the horrific conditions of broiler sheds or battery cages are transported to the slaughterhouse.

Workers rush through the sheds, grabbing multiple birds by their legs and slinging them into crates for transport. Every year, tens of millions suffer broken wings and legs from the rough handling, and some hemorrhage to death. The journey to the slaughterhouse may be hundreds of miles long, but chickens are given no food or water and are shipped through all weather conditions.

After this nightmarish journey, the bewildered chickens are dumped out of the crates, and workers violently grab them and force their legs into shackles so that they are hanging upside-down, breaking many birds’ legs in the process.

The terrified animals struggle to escape, often defecating and vomiting on the workers. An undercover investigator at a Perdue slaughterhouse reported that “the screaming of the birds and the frenzied flapping of their wings was so loud that you had to yell to the worker next to you.”

Once in the shackles, the upside-down birds are dragged through an electrified water bath meant to paralyze them, not render them unconscious.

In her renowned book Slaughterhouse, Gail Eisnitz explains: “Other industrialized nations require that chickens be rendered unconscious or killed prior to bleeding and scalding, so they won’t have to go through those processes conscious. Here in the United States, however, poultry plants—exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act and still clinging to the industry myth that a dead animal won’t bleed properly—keep the stunning current down to about one-tenth that needed to render a chicken unconscious.” This means that chickens are still completely conscious when their throats are cut.

After the blade cuts their necks, blood slowly drains from the dying birds. But many birds flap about and miss the blade. These birds may have their throats slit by the “backup cutter,” but workers testify that it’s impossible for them to catch all the birds who miss the blade. According to USDA records, millions of chickens every year are still completely conscious when they are dunked into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tanks.

You can help end this abuse. Order PETA’s free “Vegetarian/Vegan Starter Kit” for tips and recipes to help you make the transition to a animal-friendly diet today.

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