If your family is like ours and most others around the country, you probably eat a lot of chicken. But whether you cook it at home, eat it at restaurant, or buy it as fast food, do you really think about where it comes from? This month, maybe it’s time to resolve to Change Your Chicken – a pledge sponsored by the ASPCA designed to challenge factory farming and inhumane conditions.
Chicken is actually the most-consumed meat in America, according to the ASPCA, with more than 9 billion broiler chickens raised for meat each year. But what most people don’t realize is that chickens are often raised in overcrowded, artificially lit sheds with less than a square foot of floor space each (less than an iPad!). They are so weakened by selective breeding for rapid weight gain that they spend much of their lives lying in their own waste, many with open wounds that can act as gateways for bacteria like salmonella.
Through the “Change Your Chicken Challenge,” the ASPCA aims to give people tools needed to navigate the often confusing and meaningless labels found on chicken products and to make more humane buying decisions.
The ASPCA is directing chicken consumers toward three labels it considers trustworthy – Certified Humane®, Animal Welfare Approved® and Global Animal Partnership® Steps 2 and above. These programs certify a range of better farming practices, but all three prevent the worst kind of crowding, filth, sickness and suffering endured by chickens on most factory farms.
“The ‘Change Your Chicken Challenge’ gives chicken consumers the information and encouragement they need to make more humane decisions and potentially influence food industries to move away from cruel farm practices and conditions,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “Knowing what chicken product labels mean – and what they don’t – is critical to protecting both farm animals and human health.”
See a video about the challenge here:
Since the challenge launched on September 10, more than 20,000 people have pledged to choose chicken products raised under conditions with more space, better enrichment and greater opportunities to engage in natural behaviors.
And while it’s not a debate about whether to go vegetarian/vegan or not, those who eat meat will likely agree across the board that these animals do not deserve to live lives of pain and suffering.
So take the pledge – and share with your friends – here.