Sound silly? In fact, chicken on the menu is as much an ethical nightmare as veal or foie gras.
7 ways chicken is like veal
Broiler chickens and veal calves are both:
- Taken from their mothers
- Kept inside all their lives with only artificial light to control eating and activity
- Live all their lives with very little room to move - therefore can't move or develop properly
- Fed specifically to meet market requirements rather than health
- Medicated to prevent diseases caused by their living conditions
- At high risk of dying even before before slaughter time
- Very young when killed (broiler chickens are only 5-7 weeks old at slaughter)
And a few extra horrors, just for the chicks
- Their sheds are not cleaned out in their entire lives, so they live in increasingly deep piles of toxic ammoniac chicken waste.
- They have been bred to put on so much weight, so quickly, that they cannot balance on their legs as they grow. So they spend twice as much time sitting in, and breathing, that waste pile.
- Since they often can't walk, they are grabbed in bunches and carried by their legs when they are gathered for slaughter. This often breaks their legs (if their legs are not already broken).
Care for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe?
“It is now clear that [chickens] have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates.”
—Dr Lesley Rogers, professor of Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour, University of New England.
Chickens may not be your favourite animal. But any animal with enough brains to learn to play a tune or even a silly game deserves better than this. Follow a broiler chicken through his short life here...
Please enjoy your personal choice - use it well and kindly.
Substitutes for chicken
"What’s key is to remember to season any dish that contains a vegetarian chicken substitute. It is not the substitute but the seasonings that simulate the taste of chicken."