Abuse: probably the worst of the worst, chickens confined to “battery” cages are crammed in so tight they often walk on each other and the weak cannot reach their food or water. Each is give the space of a single sheet of paper to live their whole life on. Stress is so high these normally peaceful animals fight each other in their misery, so the babies routinely have their beaks seared off.
The air in their huge sheds is a toxic poison, reeking with dust, debris and the methane from their wastes. Disease is rampant and death is common, so antibiotics are added to their feed just to keep them alive long enough to grow up. They are kept in the dark their whole lives until the shocking transport to the slaughterhouse, where they are hung upside-down and their necks are cut, although many are still alive when they are dunked into the scalding de-feathering oil.
The egg-laying chickens endure similar conditions. None know a kind voice or have any real contact with humans, panicking whenever one approaches.
These intelligent birds simply do not deserve this barbaric treatment. California was the first U.S. state to vote to ban battery cages in 2008 (along with pig gestation and veal crates), but that only just begins to address the horrible abuse of chickens by factory farmers.
The myth of “free range." The only thing “free” about free range them is that they are not crammed in to tiny cages; instead, they are crammed together with thousands of other birds in huge warehouses. Kept in darkness, never seeing the light of day, they are so stressed the normally amiable birds attack each other in frustration. Because of that they, like chickens, have their beaks burned off as babies, a painful procedure to the sensitive mouth parts that the birds use for taste, smell, manipulation, and eating.
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