Chicken farm, Victoria, Australia

What is the problem with factory farming chickens?


They grow aggressively fast to an overgrown size, enduring cruel consequences which drops the nutritional and protein value of their meat.

Image credit: Misssheep

Broilers or Franken-chickens have been genetically manipulated to grow and grow to reach their slaughter weight as quickly as possible. It is this rapid growth that poses the most significant welfare challenges. In as little as 6 weeks, a 30g chick can reach slaughter weight of around 2kg.

That’s the equivalent of a 3kg newborn human baby reaching 300 kilograms in 2 months.

Globally about two-thirds of chickens reared for meat each year (40 billion birds) are kept in factory farming systems made up of huge, crowded sheds, or cramped cages – often with no room to move, natural light or fresh air. These Franken-chickens suffer at every stage of their short lives.

As farms become increasingly industrialised to meet the growing global demand, Franken-chickens are bred to grow aggressively fast to an overgrown size, up to three times as fast as traditional breeds in a short amount of time. Due to this, they suffer from conditions such as:

  • Painful lameness
  • Overworked hearts and lungs
  • Wounds including skin sores and burns

This comes at an enormous cost to the welfare of the birds.

Chicken suffering

The industry doesn’t want you to know this. But these Franken-chickens grow so aggressively fast, it causes their flesh to produce more fat than their slower-growing counterparts – dropping the nutritional and protein value of their ‘meat’.

All because they’ve been selectively bred by an industry who continues to profit from their pain and suffering.

Painful lesions, muscle disease, heart failure are commonplace. Franken-chickens pay the hidden price of ‘cheap meat’.

Franken-chickens are bred to suffer!

How do we help chickens?

Without changes from producers, consumers and retailers, this style of industrial farming will expand in order to meet the huge demand for cheap meat across the globe. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

We believe that all animals deserve to live peaceful lives free from harm one of the best ways we can do this is for all companies to sign the Better Chicken Commitment. This means:

  • Slower-growing chickens bred to grow at a more natural rate
  • Enough space to move around and exhibit natural behaviours such as pecking and spreading their wings
  • Able to enjoy proper enrichment that keeps them healthy and active
  • Natural light and restful periods of darkness
  • No use of cages
  • A reduction in the use of antibiotics in farm animals - enabled by moving to higher welfare farming systems

Chicken welfare ranking

With the help of our supporters, we persuaded Burger King UK, Nando's UK, and KFC in six European countries to join the Better Chicken Commitment, which will improve the lives of tens of millions of chickens worldwide. Despite our efforts, KFC Australia has not signed the Better Chicken Commitment, leaving millions of chickens vulnerable to lives of pain and suffering

Only one of the restaurants signed the Better Chicken Commitment – Domino’s. They are the first and only major fast-food outlet in Australia to commit to slower growing breeds, more natural conditions, and better health outcomes for millions of chickens in their supply chain. We applaud Domino’s for making such a positive step forward and for preventing more chickens from suffering.

How can you help chickens?

Chickens deserve to live good lives. Your grocery purchases can dramatically impact the welfare of millions of chickens in Australia. When buying meat, make sure to choose slow growing chicken. Even better, leave meat off your plate and try a plant-based alternative instead.

Chicken as part of intensive factory farming. Credit Animals Liberation

Give KFC chickens better lives

Call on KFC to sign the Better Chicken Commitment and put a stop to the cruelty these creatures experience.

Broiler chicken

Donate to protect chickens

In industrial farming, a chick may go her entire life without seeing sunlight. Together, we can give chickens lives worth living.

You can help chickens by signing the petition to call on KFC to sign the Better Chicken Commitment and put a stop to the cruelty these creatures experience.

Fast-food giant KFC is one of Australia’s most established restaurants with more than 700 stores.

KFC UK and six countries across Europe have all agreed to source chickens from suppliers with higher welfare standards. And it’s time for Australia to follow suit.

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