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The Truth Behind British Chicken


Chickens are the most abused land animal on the planet. In the UK alone, more than one billion chickens are killed every year. 

They are bred to grow so big and so fast that their legs and organs can’t keep up, causing them to suffer from heart attacks, organ failure and debilitating leg deformities. Those that survive this miserable existence are typically slaughtered at just 35 days old. 

Slaughter is not any less painful. Chickens are killed using electrical waterbaths or gas. For an electrical waterbath stunning, chickens are hung upside down by their legs onto a moving conveyor, which carries them to a ‘waterbath’, where their heads swing into the electrified water. This process is extremely stressful and painful for chickens and is used to either stun or stun and kill them. Their throats are then slit after they exit the water bath. 

Chickens are intelligent beings capable of feeling fear and pain. Like other animals, including humans, they want to live. This desire for life is the reason why many birds lift their heads during the stunning process to avoid the electrified water and are therefore slaughtered while still conscious. 

British Chicken: The Truth Exposed

Beyond the standards themselves, the lack of enforcement of the laws that do currently exist in the UK is a widespread issue. 

To date, we have investigated 19 chicken farms linked to major supermarkets – including Tesco and Asda – and major fast food chains, like Nando’s and McDonald’s.

In several farms, our investigators have documented workers deliberately kicking and stepping on birds, or crushing the necks of those deemed too weak to be profitable.

On some of the farms, smaller birds were deprived of water as the drinkers were routinely raised to heights they were unable to reach. Others, clearly in pain and about to die, were carelessly thrown onto a pile and left to suffer there for hours. 

What’s worse, is that at least 18 of the farms we investigated were assured by Red Tractor – the biggest farm accreditation scheme in the UK, which claims to ensure that the animal products it certifies are ‘responsibly sourced’ and the animals are ‘well-cared for’. 

Through undercover investigations, Animal Equality is shining a light inside factory farms, exposing the horrific conditions in which animals are kept in these dark places. 

Investigations can change how people see farmed animals, and they are also the most powerful tool we have to build up evidence to persuade companies and policymakers to make meaningful changes for animals. 

Supermarkets in the UK play a huge role in the suffering of chickens. In fact, approximately 800 million chickens are slaughtered for sale in UK supermarkets every year. This is more than 80% of all chickens raised and killed for their flesh in the country. 

Join us in demanding that Tesco and other major supermarkets eliminate some of the worst abuses the chickens in their supply chains are forced to endure.

British Chicken: The Truth About Accreditation Schemes

With animal welfare an increasing concern for the British public, many consumers put their trust in accreditation schemes to reassure them about their food choices. 

Assurance or accreditation schemes are organisations that claim to carefully monitor where our food comes from and tell consumers through food labelling that the food they buy was ‘responsibly sourced’.

Red Tractor is the biggest and most recognised accreditation scheme in the UK, with around 50,000 British farmers accredited to its standards and 14 billion products carrying its logo. But what does the Red Tractor certification mean? 

When it comes to chickens who are bred and killed for their flesh, Red Tractor-certified means that instead of the legal maximum stocking density (how many chickens are allowed to be crowded together) of 39kg of weight per square meter, individuals are kept at a maximum of 38kg per square-metre – just one kilogram less – which is like adding roughly the space of a post-it note to the A4 piece of paper each chicken has. 

But that’s not all. Animal Equality has investigated 25 chicken and pig farms accredited by Red Tractor and we have consistently found farms breaking the standards that Red Tractor sets, as well as breaking the law. 

Not Only British Chicken: Our Work Internationally

As a global organisation, our mission is to investigate and expose the truth about the animal agriculture industry everywhere in the world. 

Every year, globally, an estimated 50 billion chickens are slaughtered for food – a staggering number which doesn’t even include individuals who are killed at the hands of the egg industry.

We have investigated several chicken farms around the world, demonstrating how the cruelty to which these innocent animals are subjected knows no boundaries. 

Regardless of the country they are bred and killed in, chickens suffer greatly from overcrowded conditions, unnatural growth and other abuses in an industry that cruelly values their entire life based solely on their market value. 

Shocking Violations Inside US Hatchery

Suffering Inside A Spanish Chicken Farm

Cruelty Exposed Inside A German Chicken Farm

A Look Inside The Italian Chicken Industry

India’s Cruel Chicken Industry

More About British Chicken

What Can You Do To Help Chickens?

The best way to help chickens and all farmed animals is opting to eat plant-based food instead of animal products. Never before have plant-based alternatives been so accessible, as all major supermarkets’ fill their shelves with more and more delicious animal-friendly options. 

If you are looking for something to do right now, with a simple click you can join us in demanding Tesco and other major supermarkets to improve the living conditions of the chickens within their supply chain in order to eliminate some of the worst abuses they are forced to endure.