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Top 10 Reasons Not to Eat Chicken

Quite simply, chickens are the most abused animals on the planet. In the United States, approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year, and 305 million hens are used for their eggs. The vast majority of these animals spend their lives in total confinement—from the moment they hatch until the day they are killed.

Here’s a shocking video of your chicken dinner, in reverse:

These are our top 10 reasons to not eat chickens:

 1. ‘Bird Brain’ Is a Compliment

An article in Scientific American titled “The Startling Intelligence of the Common Chicken” describes chickens as “cunning.” It goes on to say that they possess “communication skills on par with those of some primates and … [use] sophisticated signals to convey [their] intentions. When making decisions, [they take] into account … prior experience and knowledge surrounding the situation. [They] can solve complex problems and [empathize] with individuals that are in danger.” So who are you calling a “bird brain”?

Cute brown chicken

2. There is a High Risk of Human Exposure to Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria Through the Food Supply

Chickens raised for their flesh are often packed by the thousands into massive sheds and fed large amounts of antibiotics and drugs to keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them.

Cute chickens

Recent documents created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and made available as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that “none of these [antibiotic feed additives] would likely be approvable … for … livestock use if submitted today, under current FDA guidelines. Eighteen of the 30 reviewed feed additives were deemed to pose a ‘high risk’ of exposing humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the food supply.” This reckless use of antibiotics makes drugs less effective for treating humans by speeding up the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

3. Scalded to Death

Only seven weeks after they’re born, chickens are crowded onto trucks that transport them to the slaughterhouse. Every year, tens of millions of chickens have their wings and legs broken in the process. They are trucked through all weather extremes, sometimes over hundreds of miles, without any food or water. At slaughter, chickens are hung upside down and have their throats slit, and they’re often scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

Bloody skinned chicken

4. No One Stands Up for Chickens. That May Not Hurt Your Body, But It Will Hurt Your Soul

Most chickens spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, each getting less space than a sheet of paper, where intense crowding and confinement lead to outbreaks of disease. Adult chickens can have trouble breathing and standing upright and will even topple forward because they’ve been bred to have abnormally large breasts.

Baby chicks

5. If You’re Eating Chicken, You’re Eating Poop

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) study found that more than 99 percent of broiler chicken carcasses sold in stores had detectable levels of E. coli, indicating fecal contamination. That means you are almost guaranteed to be swallowing actual POOP every time you chomp down on a dead chicken. Consumer Reports states that there are “1.1 million or more Americans sickened each year by undercooked, tainted chicken.”

cramped caged chickens

One disgusting example of the damage contaminated chicken can cause involved Foster Farms. Foster Farms was forced to recall chicken products that had been linked to an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella, which had been making people sick for more than a year. The Washington Post reported, “The [USDA] inspection reports include descriptions of mold growth, cockroaches, an instance of pooling caused by a skin-clogged floor drain, fecal matter and ‘Unidentified Foreign Material’ (which has its own acronym, UFM) on chicken carcasses, failure to implement required tests and sampling, metal pieces found in carcasses, and many more.”

6. Factory Farms Are Filled With Danger and Exploitation

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, slaughterhouse workers are more than three times more likely to sustain injuries while working than workers in other manufacturing jobs. They are also 30 times more likely to suffer from a repetitive stress injury than workers in other manufacturing jobs. The industry refuses to make working conditions safer by slowing line speeds or buying appropriate safety gear, which amounts to what Human Rights Watch calls “systematic human rights violations embedded in meat and poultry industry employment.” Workers are often forced to work 10 or more hours a day, and in order not to slow down, they have even been reported to defecate in their pants.

Chickens hung upside down for debeaking

7. Chickens Used for Food Are Crippled and Dying of Thirst

Chickens on today’s factory farms almost always become crippled because their legs cannot support the weight of their bodies. In fact, by the age of 6 weeks, 90 percent of “broiler chickens” are so obese that they can no longer walk. Many crippled chickens on factory farms die when they can no longer reach the water nozzles.

Chickens in Transport

8. The Meat Industry is Actively Trying to Manipulate You

Companies want you to believe that labels like “free-range” and “organic” mean chickens were raised without cruelty. Regardless of what the egg cartons say, most hens raised for their eggs are subjected to cramped, filthy conditions until their egg production begins to wane—when they’re about 2 years old—and then they’re typically slaughtered. More than 100 million “spent” hens are killed in slaughterhouses every year. Every year, millions of male chicks are killed—usually in a high-speed grinder called a “macerator”—because they’re worthless to the egg industry.

Chickens in rows at factory farm

In his book The Meat Racket, Christopher Leonard details the effort that President Barack Obama made to control the meat industry’s power over rural America. In 2010, Obama attempted to make it easier for farmers to sue meatpackers. It was a noble effort to empower individual farmers, but Big Meat’s lobbyists pulled favors in Congress and succeeded in squashing the administration’s plan.

9. Motherly Love

In a natural setting, a hen will cluck to her chicks before they even hatch while sitting on the eggs in her nest. They peep back to her and to each other through their shells. On factory farms, eggs are taken from the mother as soon as they are laid and placed in large incubators—a chick will never meet his or her parents. Hens prefer to have private nests hidden from predators and will often go without food or water in order to obtain a private nest. This demonstrates the fact that hens will sacrifice their own comfort if it means protecting their chicks. On factory farms, hens are forced to lay their eggs in barren metal cages, crammed together with five to 11 other birds.

10. Industries That Raise and Slaughter Chickens Are Killing Our Environment

Raising 9 billion chickens for meat on factory farms each year produces enormous amounts of excrement. Oregon State University agriculture professor Peter Cheeke says that factory farming amounts to “a frontal assault on the environment,” which leads to widespread fecal land and water pollution. Because chickens are often fed massive amounts of antibiotics and additives, these chemicals are also found in high concentrations in their feces, which means that fecal pollution from chicken farms is especially disastrous for the environment. In Maryland and West Virginia, for example, scientists discovered that male fish are growing ovaries, and they suspect that this freakish deformity is the result of factory-farm runoff from drug-laden chicken feces.


Better Than the Original!

Do you like the taste of chicken flesh but don’t like the suffering? No problem—there are so many alternatives available that you’ll never miss the cruelty! Try one of Gardein’s nine different varieties of meat-free chicken, Beyond Meat’s Grilled Chicken-Free Strips, Boca Chik’n Nuggets, and Yves Meatless Chicken Burgers.These super-tasty foods are high in protein, cruelty- and cholesterol-free, and available at your local supermarket. Instead of eggs for breakfast, check out these delicious egg-free recipes that will blow your mind. Also, check out our egg-free baking tips.


Commenting is closed.

    I want to know why there is the continuing practice of abusing and torturing chickens and turkeys–along with so many others! I see the poor birds crammed into trucks in the tiny cages, knowing full well that they have already been abused and injured, and continue to feel severe pain for the entire transport! They are driven many many miles in trucks, in severe and extreme weather conditions–freezing cold, and brutally hot! Why has there been no action or petitions to stop this so very cruel and inexcusable treatment of these poor little intelligent babies? No excuse to eat meat in this day, especially when the poor soul has been brutally murdered!!!!

  • PETA says:

    Many people keep chickens as companion animals and find them to be as intelligent and affectionate as dogs. A backyard could provide ample room to scratch and nest, or it could simply be a place to put a cramped, filthy cage. So as far as backyard coops go, it really comes down to the treatment of the individual animals. Would-be chicken guardians should always adopt homeless birds rather than purchasing hens from cruel hatcheries, where males are ground up at birth. And as with any companion animal, the guardian must be willing to make a lifelong commitment to the hens, rather than treating them as egg machines to be discarded if the guardian decides he prefers cereal over omelets. Of course, no one should ever purchase eggs from a grocery store or restaurant, as the eggs most likely came from a factory farm, where chickens are crammed for their entire adult lives into filthy wire cages that are so tiny the birds can’t stretch their wings.

    Eggs are unhealthy no matter how the chickens who lay them are raised. Eggs are cholesterol bombs that, according to studies, contribute to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a higher risk of death. And they’re also the leading cause of salmonella poisoning.

    As for your other hypothetical question about what would we do if there were suddenly no more food in the grocery store – we’d start farming fruits and vegetables. No need to starve and no need to murder.

  • ThatGuy says:

    So just a passerby wondering..What do y’all think of raising chickens in your backyard. They have tons of space, free to roam, all the food they could ask for, and they’re treated well. All this in exhange for a couple eggs a day. Much healthier than factory farmed eggs for sure. Factory farming is a genuinely f’ed up practice that is in no way sustainable. Not to mention the chemicals they pump them with on a regular basis. Can’t be healthy at all.

    I don’t want to speak too soon but if all you’re going to respond with is accusations of chicken imprisonment (or something similar) then you’d be better off not responding at all.

    Another question. If something were to happen to infrastructure and there was no food in grocery stores, would you out of desperation eat meat to survive or would you rather starve to death than kill and eat another animal?

  • Anil says:

    Humans can realize the pain and suffering of others species and its our responsibility to protect them rather relish their flesh. I quit meat eating more than a decade back and haven’t missed anything in terms of health or taste. Can PETA suggest some tips to stop this cruel behavior of humans towards these little birds. I see hundreds of them in my Locality.

  • Jeannie Silvester says:

    I am so disgusted with the way chickens are treated and slaughtered for human consumption.

  • PETA says:

    @truth Thanks for your comment. PETA does not believe in “humane” meat. For for information, please read here: Also, a vegan diet is very affordable. You can find reasonably priced rice, beans, pasta, tofu, fresh vegetables and other options. For more tips on how to go vegan, check this out:

  • truth says:

    If all of the commercial chicken and livestock were raise in a way that PETA consider humane, then their cost would be much higher and the poors will not be able to afford meat products – so what should they do then? – die of malnutrition? And don’t try to argue that they can live on a vegan diet – no they can’t because they don’t have the resources to put together that kind of food.

  • Melina says:

    Its cruel what if we were hang upside down and slaughtered? What if we were taken from our mothers after we are born and dont know anything ABOUT THEM? These chickens are making sacrifices of not eating for their babies. If your a mother you would understand this. Imagine having your 7week old baby taken away from you.

  • HaileyC says:

    No amount of good treatment can justify killing a life to satisfy our palates. There’s no such thing as “humane meat”, just as there’s no “humane murder” or “humane rape”. It’s an oxymoron.

  • Eli says:

    I think humans, like other animals, need meat to survive a stable healthy life!
    Ok I know most of you (especially vegans, my gf is one as well) will fight me on that. But it’s not up for debate. That is my honest opinion & I’m entitled.
    With that said though I agree with this article on many points whole heartedly!! My food intake is about 25% meat..maybe less….for 2 reasons
    1. The body runs better(less cancer, less sluggish..etc) on limited meat, especially red meats.. now I’m not saying no meat,just less meat..
    2. …and this is critical…we are way over populated & our dining needs have reached obscene levels!!! So our meat comes from, like the article states, over crowded, dirty & chemically induced animals to meet such ginormous needs!!

    Bottom line:
    Go meatless …not 30/70 split
    Buy only “certified organic” meats. (veggies & fruits too)
    Treat your body like a temple
    Don’t give in to people abusing animals, but also don’t give in to PETA’s scare tactics!
    Be a responsible adult & do the right thing for the world, yourself & the environment. When we’re all diligent about knowing where our food comes from than companies will be forced to make adjustments

  • Brian says:

    I wish if everybody can understand that a person who eat chicken has 20% chance of getting cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and so many other diseases in his/her entire life. Yes, Chicken has lot of protein which is necessary for our body, but consuming Beans, legumes, seeds, grains (especially quinoa and amaranth), leafy green vegetables are much more healthier when we can get protein, vitamins, and iron and save our heath from being destruction.

  • rohitash says:

    go vegan…thats all i want to say

  • Woods says:

    I really agree with what kasey states about. I love organic and free-range food. I’d much rather have my own farm and raise my livestock to know where my food comes from. I really agree with alot of statements in the paragraphs above, but you have to understand that “most” people do not have the time nor do they care about where their food/chicken comes from. It’s more of a “out of sight out of mind” kind of issue at hand. Our country takes advantage of what we throw away and misuse. I don’t think we’ll ever learn, we’ll end up destroying what made this planet our home.

  • kasey says:

    What if you grew your own chickens. And humainly took care of the chickens letting them have free range and plenty of food? Not planning to eat the chickens. Just the infertal eggs?

  • Adrie says:

    Yes animals eat other animals. The point if you think about it logically is this…. we slaughter more than needed and curly so. Animals eat to live. People live to eat. Even saying that we are doing the same thing lions do out in the wide is ludicrous. Lions don’t imprison animals for their span of life and feed them harmful chemicals and then kill them. We take away their quality of life then add insult to injury by brutally killing them without care. God help us if people meat is ever ok to eat and we are ever treated the same as a chicken. I guess for most, ignorance is bliss. Pathetic excuses..

  • Ksbean says:

    Who cares! They taste sooo good!

  • Dooby doobs says:

    @ neelesh So, ummm… Does that make lions murderers. What about ants? Mosquitos, I can understand to be murderers. They are resposible for more deaths worldwide than any other animal. Yup, you guessed it… even more than dirty man kind.

  • neelesh says:

    Go vegan. Stop the murder of billions of animals. Stop the animal holocaust. See the real world

  • Rychus1 says:

    How many animals need to cook meat in order to make it edible or digestible. Do you believe your so called k9 teeth are compatible to that of a dog. Can you easily tear uncooked meat with them and can your body cope with digesting raw meat. I think not. To me this proves that we are not supposed to be a nation of meat eaters. I will end by stating that I do eat meat, I was raised eating meat and will probably continue to eat meat but I believe that we were not made for the digestion of meat in any form.

  • rumpleminz says:

    almost every animal eats another animal, its natural. it keeps populations in check. the reason that humans have the sharp canine teeth is to cut meat with. By promoting equal animal rights you are softening everything that makes humans humans. We evolved massive brains for a reason, we are the top of the food chain. You are consciously helping the de-evolution of the human species. JUST EAT HEALTHY! being a vegan or vegetarian doesn’t make you a better person… just look at hitler he was a vegetarian!

  • Jorge Saucedo says:

    I have been a vegetarian for 35 years.
    I body build for fun and health reasons.
    I have a 30 in waist and a 44 chest, and yes I amd70 years old and in great health.
    No chicken, no fish or any thing with eyes.
    I see my friends dying with all illnesses and I feel that the animal kingdom is getting back at them.
    to boil, twist their necks and kill them in a inhumane way to titillate our taste buds is a crime against humanity so I will keep observing the self killing of humans by eating meat, they deserve what they get.

  • globalhoodnews says:

    thanks you Peta.great research and are what you eat.

  • maria says:

    Why is there so little respect for these wonderful creatures? And for other animals as well. They give us their meat, eggs, etc. We should raise them with respect for them and for us humans. To eat healthy and live a healthy life. Respect and self conscious. Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself and that includes the wonderful animals. Big appreciation for the few people in this world that are doing good. Sincerely, Maria.

  • Justaperson says:

    You don’t have to be a vegetarian. If more of us would just eat less meat and when we do eat organic/humanely raised/cage free meat/eggs it would make a huge difference. Watch Food Inc on Netflix. You will go organic after that. (Or vegetarian.) TN is voting on bringing back horse slaughter in two days. If you have time email the TN STATE Representative. This will be state law not federal.

  • Charles says:

    Chickens taste great!!!!! Thank God for Chickens.

  • chickenfriedrice says:

    i like chicken

  • Chicken driver says:

    I transport chickens in the UK from farm to slaughter. It is a real shame, but people eat chicken. The UK regulations surrounding the keep, transport and slaughter of chickens are far too relaxed and welfare requirements are not anywhere near as tight as they should be.

  • Riaz b. Shaikh says:

    Is eating of chicken eggs harmful for health?

  • shanwaz says:

    i have 4 chickens now..and i love them as my childrens…but i am non-vegetarian and i eat chicken also…but after reading this i am decided not to eat chicken …but any problem to eat their eggs.

  • jozette says:

    i am also vegan but i think that owning and taking good care of your chickens is a pretty good way to go…the only thing i wonder about is…aren’t those eggs supposed to be their babies?? i don’t know that much about chickens but why do they lay so many eggs? and how come they are not being born as chicks?

  • Sally O'Keeffe says:

    I have 2 ex battery hens that I keep in my garden who have a good life now eating grass etc and produce lovely fresh eggs.More people should try this, it is easier than you think

  • Kathleen Wood says:

    In answer to Brent Crabtree. I am vegan and don’t eat eggs, but I think what you are doing is fine. First you saved their lives, then you gave them a quality of life most chickens never experience. And using the eggs seems logical. I applaud your humanity.

  • Brent Crabtree says:

    I have 9 hens, I rescued them from a Vietnamese lady who was about to butcher them, I paid her $200.00 to rescue them…well these girls are my babies, they roam the yard, they have airconditioning and heat in their house, I talk to them, I hand feed them, I sing to them…I love and respect them…they lay eggs every day..I have been eating them…is this wrong? I don’t expect them to provide eggs for me. I feed them an organic diet of grains, I love the girls and they love me….is this wrong for me to eat the eggs in this situation? I also scramble the eggs and give them to my cats and two dogs…they would go to waste otherwise…please help me in this dilema.

  • W says:

    Some of this is a bit extreme, and written to a bit of an exaggerated form. However, there is also some truth to it. Regardless, I will continue to eat eggs because they are so very good for me. I just try to buy cage-free and hope I’m helping a little.

  • espi198 says:

    These are facts we hear all the time. Try reading the book “Eating Animals” to get some really mind blowing statistics that will make people care

  • Jagruti Goswami says:

    A REAL FACT…..