Saving Animals Canada has just released a new video entitled Chicken: The Hidden Truth.

The short video, which runs just under 10 minutes long, includes interviews with a local Vancouver activist who rescued a broiler chicken, as well as other Vancouver-area activists. The story of Belinda, the rescued chicken, is woven together with information about the chicken industry.

Broiler chickens (the kind of chicken raised for meat) have been bred to grow so fast that they are ready for slaughter at just 6 weeks old. Rescued broiler chickens are only able to live up to about a year and a half old. Because they’ve been bred to grow so big so quickly their breast muscles actually grow too large and eventually will crush their internal organs. Many rescued broiler chickens die of heart attacks; others literally explode as their organs are squeezed out of their bodies. All of them face respiratory, cardio-vascular, muscle, and bone issues.  Even the chickens raised on organic and free range farms are the same breed of chicken and face the same issues of health and suffering.

Before the development of modern commercial meat breeds (cows, chickens, etc.) broilers consisted mostly of young male chickens (cockerels) which were culled from farm flocks. The males were slaughtered for meat and the females (pullets) were kept for egg production. Compared to today, this made chicken meat scarce and expensive compared to eggs, and chicken was a luxury meat. The development of special broiler breeds decoupled the supply of broilers from the demand for eggs. This, along with advances in nutrition and incubation that allowed broilers to be raised year-round, allowed chicken to become a low-cost meat.

Broilers are often called “Rock-Cornish,” referring to the adoption of a hybrid variety of chicken produced from a cross of male of a naturally double breasted Cornish strain and a female of a tall, large boned strain of white Plymouth Rocks. This first attempt at a hybrid meat breed was introduced in the 1930s and became dominant in the 1960s as the push towards factory farms became widespread. The original cross was plagued by problems of low fertility, slow growth, and disease susceptibility, and modern broilers have gradually become very different from the Cornish x Rock hybrid.

The video was put together by a long-time local Vancouver animal rights activist.   Learn more about Saving Animals Canada and watch their video at Chicken: The Hidden Truth :



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