chicken farming in new zealand
Chicken meat sold in New Zealand is from six-week-old baby birds who still have blue eyes, soft feathers and chirp like chicks.
They have been bred to grow three times faster than nature intended and their immature skeletons are frequently unable to hold the massive bodies of adult-weight birds. Many can only take a few steps before collapsing.
Any lame birds are not afforded the luxury of veterinary treatment. Once their legs give out or their joints are dislocated, they can only wait to be killed or risk being trampled, dying unnoticed. Suspended feeders are raised as chickens grow. As a result, smaller birds and lame birds die of thirst and hunger, unable to reach food or water.
Approximately 10,000 birds die every day in New Zealand broiler sheds as a result of heart failure, disease and afflictions caused by intensive methods of production. Death, often agonising and slow, can be caused by starvation, thirst, heart attack, or fluid in the lungs.
Those chickens who do make it to six weeks of age are caught and sent to slaughter. Each catcher will carry as many as four birds by their legs in each hand and cram them into small crates, which are then loaded onto trucks. On reaching the slaughterhouse, chickens are removed from their crates and shackled upside down by their feet on a moving line whilst still fully conscious. Their heads and neck are dragged through an electrically charged water bath designed to stun the birds, before their throats are slit.
Find out about the personalities and abilities of chickens.