These are the actual people behind the chicken you eat. You won't forget them.

A live chicken doesn't just magically turn into a plate of buffalo wings to make you happy during a ball game.

That'd be somethin' though.


Deliciousness brought to you by Spine on Flickr.

It actually takes a lot of work before it even hits the fryer: hanging, cutting, trimming. Repeat.

And that's just for wings. We're eating so much chicken in 2015 that it's now the most popular meat in America. The industry is boomin'.

And maybe one of the reasons why — besides chicken being delicious — is that consumers are feeling better about it.

Over the past few years, we've demanded better treatment of chickens and are satisfied with words like "certified humane" and "free range."

All GIFs via Oxfam America/YouTube.

As the lives of chickens are beginning to improve, we're forgetting one key part of the industry:

The 250,000 workers who process poultry every day.

They're getting majorly left behind, and the companies they work for hope you won't notice.

A new comprehensive report by Oxfam America called "Lives on the Line" gives us a much-needed wake-up call on the human cost of the chicken we eat.

Chicken processing is at its highest demand ever — line speeds are twice as fast as in 1979. It's forcing workers to dangerous lengths just to keep up.

Workers are known to process 30 chickens a minute, repeating the same motions 20,000 times a day.

But maybe they're getting paid something nice? Nah.

Production is through the roof, but the value of workers' wages has declined 40% since the 1980s.

It's even said that for every $1 spent on McDonald's McNuggets, only about two cents goes to processing workers.

All that work for 2% of the sale price.

Well, why aren't the workers speaking out if it's that bad?

Some are, but there's a lot on the line here. Minorities, immigrants, refugees, and even prisoners often make up the workforce at these major companies, and they're often too afraid to speak up in fear of losing their jobs.

But when these real-life scenarios include common injuries and inhumane working conditions, we have to do something:

“I was working next to a lady who was eight months pregnant. She needed to go to the bathroom and asked for permission. An hour passed, then two. She asked again. The supervisor said, 'Sorry, lady, but no one can cover for you. Hold it a while more.' Finally the woman wet her pants and began to cry." — Bacilio Castro, former poultry worker

In what world is that OK?

The main companies we buy chicken from are so big that if they make changes, other companies would be silly not to.

It's not too much to ask, either. A safe work environment and fair compensation should be the standard across the board for every company out there.

We've seen improvement in how chickens are raised. Imagine the human lives we could change if consumers shined their lights on poultry workers!

Companies listen when they have to. Let's make them listen again.

(It'll make you fall even more in love with those buffalo wings.)

See more from Oxfam's Lives on the Line, plus easy ways you can help demand better for these workers:

More
True
Gates Foundation
Instagram / Frères Branchiaux Candle Co.

Three young Maryland brothers who started a candle company to buy new toys now donate $500 a month from their successful business to help the homeless.

Collin, 13, Ryan, 11, and Austin, 8, Gill founded "Frères Branchiaux," which is French for Gill Brothers, after their mom told them they could either get a job or start a business if they wanted more video games and Nerf guns.

"They surprised me when they started a business and they started selling at their baseball and football games and they've moved on to a vending truck," Celena Gill told Good Morning America.

The three of them have been making the candles in their Indian Head home for the last two years and business is booming, with 36 stores carrying the boys' products and a deal with Macy's in the works. They sell nearly 400 candles a month, priced from $18 to $36, along with other products like diffuser oils, room sprays, soap, bath bombs and salts, according to the Washington Post.


Keep Reading Show less
Business
Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube


A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD - Official Trailer (HD) www.youtube.com

As a child, I spent countless hours with Mister Rogers. I sang along as he put on his cardigan and sneakers, watched him feed his fish, and followed his trolley into the Land of Make Believe. His show was a like a calm respite from the craziness of the world, a beautiful place where kindness always ruled. Even now, thinking about the gentle, genuine way he spoke to me as a child is enough to wash away the angst of my adult heart.

Fred Rogers was goodness personified. He dedicated his life not just to the education of children, but to their emotional well-being. His show didn't teach us letters and figures—he taught about love and feelings. He showed us what community looks like, what accepting and including different people looks like, and what kindness and compassion look like. He saw everyone he met as a new friend, and when he looked into the camera and said, "Hello, neighbor," he was sincerely speaking to every person watching.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via ManWhoHasItAll

Recently, Upworthy shared a tweet thread by author A.R. Moxon who created a brilliant metaphor to help men understand the constant anxiety that potential sexual abuse causes women.

He did so by equating sexual assault to something that men have a deep-seeded fear of: being kicked in the testicles.

HBO didn't submit 'Brienne' from Game of Thrones for an Emmy. So, she did it herself.

An anonymous man in England who goes by the Twitter handle @manwhohasitall has found a brillintly simple way of illustrating how we condescend to women by speaking to men the same way.

Keep Reading Show less
popular