Over 120 million chickens are killed for their meat every year in Aotearoa. These gentle and intelligent birds are bred to grow at an extremely rapid rate, reaching slaughter weight while they are still chicks, at just six weeks old.
Rapid growth can cause chicks to suffer from a range of health issues, including heart failure and leg problems (lameness). Chicks can become so top heavy their legs simply can’t support their body weight, making it painful and difficult for them to walk or even stand. With limited ability to walk, or even stand, these chicks will spend long periods of time on the filthy floor litter, which leads to painful burns to the soles of their feet, breasts, and ankle joints. Nearly all chickens farmed for their meat in New Zealand are kept in overcrowded, dirty conditions with up to 40,000 other birds.
Two million birds die from health problems every year in New Zealand chicken farms before they are ‘big enough’ to be sent to the slaughterhouse.