Chicken Comparison
This is a fast-growing, modern chicken.
This is what chickens used to look like.
The chickens who end up on most dinner plates today grow so huge, so fast, that they can barely stand up. Many collapse under their own weight and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste, with open sores and wounds.
With better breeding and better living conditions, slower-growing chickens are typically healthier, suffer less, and may be less likely to transmit foodborne illnesses.

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Industrial breeding has created chickens that grow at a freakishly rapid rate: up to three times faster than just 60 years ago. These huge birds are commonly crammed into small spaces, and many spend their short lives injured and sick, unable to even walk.

Switching to slower-growing chickens raised in better conditions means healthier birds, but it’s up to us to speak out. Tell the chicken industry to stop putting profits over welfare—sign the petition today.

Today’s fast-growing chickens grow so large, so fast that many can barely stand. Raised in cruel conditions, they often spend their short lives suffering and sick.

No animal should be forced to suffer, and consumers should have higher-welfare choices at the store. It’s time for the industry to stop maximizing profits at the expense of chickens and consumers. Chickens deserve better, and so do we.

It’s time for slower-growing chickens raised in healthier, more humane conditions.

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In 1925, it took 16 weeks to raise a chicken to 2.5 pounds. Today, chickens weigh double that in just six weeks!

Photo courtesy Wakker Dier

Many birds cannot support their own weight. Unable to stand or walk, they can die of dehydration or hunger just inches from food and water.

United States, 2014

According to the University of Arkansas, if humans grew at a similar rate, a 6.6-pound newborn baby would weigh 660 pounds after two months.  

Photo courtesy Wakker Dier

Many chickens lie in their own waste for much of their lives, with open sores and infections. These unhealthy conditions could potentially increase the risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella.

United States, 2014

A 2010 Consumer Reports analysis of fresh, whole chicken bought at stores nationwide found that two-thirds harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.

Photo courtesy Hillside Animal Sanctuary

Want to Know More?

Thanks to a horrific combination of selective breeding and rearing practices, most of today’s chickens are growing at a rate three times faster than 60 years ago! As one farmer put it, “we’ve successfully bred most of the chicken out of the chicken.”

Why is that bad? The rapid and unnatural growth rate of these chickens strains their hearts, lungs and bones. Unable to support their massive bodies, many cannot stand, and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste with open sores and infections. Look at what’s ending up on dinner plates.

Slower-growing chickens with more room to move, better lighting, and a healthier environment can be safer for consumers as well—and recent studies have shown 7 in 10 consumers would pay more for birds raised with higher welfare. Learn about the alternatives here.

Got questions? Check out our FAQ, and learn more about this issue in the ASCPA’s new whitepaper, “A Growing Problem.”

Then join the fight for higher welfare chickens by signing the petition today, and please spread the word.