Heroes

Perdue execs are probably *terrified* that this video exists. Too bad.

I wasn't expecting so much bullshit in a video about chickens.

Perdue execs are probably *terrified* that this video exists. Too bad.
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At first, I was horrified after watching this video. However, my second reaction was: "Wait. Is this even real?" So I set our fact-checking team on the case. Here are six things they found:


1. For the first time in 100 years, chicken is the most popular meat in America.


Mmm ... delicious chicken.



2. These "biosecure poultry operations" (or, as you or I would call them, "farms"), where most of the chickens we eat are raised, are totally inaccessible to people outside the industry. And once you see what's inside them, oh wow, does that desire for secrecy make total sense.

Yikes.



3. The conditions these chickens endure inside these "biosecure poultry operations" are cruel and inhumane. These windowless sheds hold as many as 40,000 birds. The frustration of living in such tight quarters without sunshine or fresh air causes the chickens to peck at each other, which causes injury and death.

Trigger warning: some upsetting visuals below.

That is just too many chickens.

This chicken's belly has been rubbed raw from being confined in such tight quarters.

That is not how legs are supposed to work. Nope. Nope. Nope.



4. Because Americans prefer white meat, these factory-farm chickens have been genetically modified over the years to have abnormally large breasts, which is painful for them and taxes their hearts. Many chickens end up dying of heart attacks or even lung collapse. Just look at this image from a study by Poultry Science. That's how much chickens have changed since 1957. That's not right.

Chickens are just not meant to have breasts this large.

Noooooooooooo. :(


5. And what about sanitation in these jam-packed warehouses? The birds spend much of their time sitting on litter, which contains the feces of other birds. And sometimes the litter isn't changed for years. A 2006 study found that 83% of grocery store chickens were infected with salmonella or another bacteria called campylobacter, largely due to the disgusting conditions of the sheds they live in. The chickens can't survive these unsanitary conditions on their own, so the farmers feed them large amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive.

A rare spot of empty space. Filled with feces. Yay.


6. And by the way? That "USDA Process Verified" label isn't an inspection program. It's a marketing program that allows producers to make claims and create certification logos without actually having their farms inspected or verified. I mean, if it were an actual inspection program, would what you see in the video and these images actually pass? Hope not.

So what can we do?

Voting with our dollars certainly helps, but we also must be vocal about demanding better. More importantly, we must raise awareness since most people have no clue that *this* is where the chicken they're buying comes from.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

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Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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