Chicken Comparison
This is a fast-growing, modern chicken.
This is what chickens used to look like.
Most chickens who end up on people’s 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.

Chicken Icon Tell Your Local Store:
I Want More Humanely Raised Chicken
Chicken Icon

Thanks for sending your letter. Now spread the word!

Thanks for sending a letter to your local grocery store. We’ll make sure they get the message that customers like you are counting on them to carry healthier, more humane chicken. The more people who speak up the better, so take a minute to spread the word to your friends and family now. Just use the share links below!

Download a Printable Supermarket Request Letter.

Shop at more than one grocery store? Click here to return to the letter.

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To: Store Manager


My name is and I shop at the in , , .

As your customer, I am asking you to carry more humanely raised chicken. Chickens on today’s factory farms suffer due to inhumane conditions and breeding for excessive growth. Most spend the majority of their lives lying down in cramped, dirty conditions, increasing the chances they will carry foodborne illness. Chickens and shoppers deserve better. When I shop, I want to know that chickens were raised with basic welfare standards. Please carry chicken with one of the following certifications:

  • Steps 3 and above

These labels mean standards that are better for chickens and better for my family, and that’s important to me.

Thank you for caring about your customers and animals.

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Chick Icon What the Cluck? Chick Icon

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

Latest Updates

Vox: “Chickens have gotten ridiculously large since the 1950s”

New Survey: Humane treatment of chickens raised for meat is more than just a moral imperative

New Investigation: Live Chickens on Factory Farm Buried with the Dead; Living in Filth

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.” 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. On top of that, factory-like farms offer chickens almost no room to move and almost no ability to engage in natural behavior like perching and dust bathing.

On more humane farms, birds have more room to move, better lighting, and a healthier environment. This 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. Check out the ASPCA Change Your Chicken Challenge to learn what to look for and how to find it.

Your can learn more about this issue in the ASPCA’s new whitepaper, “A Growing Problem.”