Canadians love chicken. In 2016, more than 681 million of the birds were consumed. They represent the largest number of animals reared for food in this country. Unfortunately, many suffer needlessly to fulfill this demand.

For more than a decade, the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA) has advocated for more ethical treatment of farm animals. One of its latest initiatives focuses on the raising, transportation, and slaughter of broiler — or meat — chickens.

One of the key issues is intense genetic selection, which is used to grow chickens quickly, just 32 or 33 days before reaching their slaughter weight. In 1950, this took 84 days. This unnatural pace means chickens can’t support their body weight; many can’t walk without pain and some suffer broken legs.

It doesn’t get better when chickens are transported to the slaughterhouse. Many die en route because they aren’t protected from the weather, and may endure 36 hours without food, water, and rest.

“Chickens are sentient beings that experience pain and fear,” says CCFA Director, Stephanie Brown. “They deserve to be treated better.”

CCFA is asking the industry to improve the living conditions of broiler chickens,  protect birds from the elements, not allow long distances during transport, and introduce more humane slaughtering methods.

Recently, CCFA launched to provide prevention tips to farmers — from installing a temperature alert system to having fire extinguishers on hand.

Consumers can lend support by writing their MPs, asking grocery stores to only carry ethically-raised and humanely slaughtered chickens, and eating less — or no — animal products.

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