Crippled and dying

Viewers have been shocked by undercover images screened on One News showing birds crippled and unable to walk. ONE News reported on the largely unknown cruelty surrounding the production of chickens reared for meat.

While the report linked the dying birds to the use of drugs given to the birds, the main cause of suffering for these birds are poor genetics that make them grow much faster than a normal chicken. The farm shown is a typical New Zealand meat chicken operation and unfortunately not unusual. Up to 40,000 birds are kept in a windowless shed, spending their lives in intense confinement and never seeing the light of day.

One News reported that New Zealand chickens are routinely fed antibiotics to prevent diseases that spread rapidly in these overcrowded conditions. The routine feeding of antibiotics to animals promotes resistance genes in bacteria in the animals' guts that can spread to human bacteria causing more antibiotic- resistance infections in humans.

Many people are still unaware of the true horrors of this industry. Chickens put on weight abnormally quickly which causes health problems leading to nearly 10,000 dying every day in New Zealand before they even reach ‘slaughter weight' at six weeks of age.

Over 99% of chickens are factory farmed in New Zealand, and although free range birds may have better conditions, they are from the same poor breeding stock, so many welfare problems remain.