Photo credits: © Henning Bagger Ritzau Scanpix
Animal Protection Denmark (Dyrenes Beskyttelse) has launched a campaign to improve the poor welfare conditions of broiler chickens in the Danish chicken industry. The Danish organisation denounces the ever increasing growth speed of chickens, that in 2018 are ready for slaughter three days earlier than 10 years ago.
The increasing growth speed of broiler chickens farmed in Denmark has been causing major welfare problems for the animals. In September 2018 Dyrenes Beskyttelse has issued a press release revealing some shocking facts related to the Danish broiler industry.
In the past 10 years the average lifespan of a chicken has shortened from 37.4 to 34.2 days. One of the consequences of this increased growth pattern is that chickens’ pectoral part is growing so fast that 3 out of 4 industrial chickens are not able to walk normally by the time they reach the slaughterhouse. “The chickens are raised with only one goal in mind: to grow as quickly as possible and reach shop counters through the cheapest process possible. The fact that chickens are sentient beings, able to experience pain, fear and pleasure, has been completely overlooked” says Britta Riis, Director of Dyrenes Beskyttelse.
Når danskerne oplyses om de forhold danske kyllinger går under, så mener 4 ud af 5, at kyllinger skal have bedre forhold end de har i dag.
— Dyrenes Beskyttelse (@DyrBeskyt) September 24, 2018
Unable to express their natural behaviour, chickens are also deprived of their resting time. The legal requirement of having 6 dark hours per day, at least 4 consecutively, doesn’t allow chickens to establish their normal circadian rhythm and forces them to stay awake, eat more, and consequently grow faster. Extreme density in the cages resulting with the inability to properly move contributes to the weight gain even further. It also negatively affects chickens’ ability to regulate their body temperature and causes the production of heat stress.
With this campaign Dyrenes Beskyttelse urges Danish consumers to reduce the consumption of industrially produced chicken meat and instead choose products coming from broiler raised in cage-free environment and with slower growth-speed.
Some interesting facts:
- In 2017 Denmark produced more than 125 million chickens. Around 120 million broilers are raised in industrial farms
- Over 3 million chickens die every year before reaching the slaughter size
- More than three out of four chickens cannot walk normally when taken to the slaughterhouse
- At least 270,000 chickens die each year on the way to the slaughterhouse
- In the last 10 years, lifespan of chickens decreased of 3 days
- Artificial light allows for only 6 hours sleep a day
- Chickens have no access to fresh air
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