Get Active for Chickens!
Don't eat chicken or eggs - and tell all your friends, family and work/school mates not to eat them either! Go veggie! Click here for more information.
Order copies of our Killing Time chicken leaflet to give to everyone you know.
Send this sample letter to your local newspaper
Please support our campaign to end the factory farming of broiler chickens by sending this sample letter to your local newspaper’s Letters to the Editor page (Find listed under Newspapers in Yellow Pages or click here for a list). Feel free to amend it but please mention Viva!’s name and address so we can bring others into the campaign. Remember to send your name and address to the paper!
"Dear Letters to the Editor
I am writing to inform readers about the shocking life of intensively farmed broiler (‘meat’) chickens. Every year over 800 million chickens are killed in the UK for their meat. 98% of them are reared on factory farms. They are crammed into foul-smelling windowless sheds and kept together in huge numbers. Each bird is allowed an area no bigger than an A4 sheet of paper.
Animal welfare group Viva! has filmed undercover inside broiler chicken farms and revealed shocking conditions. Piled up outside the sheds on one farm were dead and rotting chickens. Inside the shed, investigators found dead and dying birds being trampled on and pecked by living ones. Some birds were so severely deformed that they were unable to stand or walk and their feet were splayed out to the sides of their bodies.
Chickens are selectively bred and pumped full of drugs to reach ‘slaughter size’ in just 41 days. Today’s chickens are slaughtered when they still ‘cheep’ - chicks in an obese adult body. By the time they are killed, most of them are crippled as their legs cannot support their body weight. Some lame birds die from starvation and dehydration as they are unable to reach food and water points.
What is equally disturbing is that in the squalor of the broiler house, infections spread like wildfire. Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter and botulism all thrive in the sheds. A huge percentage of birds slaughtered for human consumption have these diseases and chicken pieces are often the salvaged parts of damaged or diseased birds that cannot be sold as whole chickens.
Animal welfare group Viva! has launched a campaign to end the factory farming of chickens. We can all do our bit to end this misery by not eating chicken and opting for a vegetarian diet. For a free veggie recipe pack call Viva! on: 0117 944 1000 or write to 8 York Court, Wilder St, Bristol BS2 8QH
You can also do your bit for Britain's egg layers. There are indisputable problems with every type of egg production - from intensive to free range (read our egg fact sheet to find out more) - so the best way to help chickens is to simply not eat their meat or eggs. However, on a sliding scale of misery hens confined to battery cages suffer the worst. Recent publicity has put pressure on supermarkets to improve their chicken welfare, with both Morrisons and Sainsbury's committing to go cage-free ahead of the European ban on conventional battery cages in 2012. However, both Asda and Tesco are refusing to make this commitment, citing price. This isn't good enough and is giving them an unfair advantage, plus condemning millions of birds to even greater misery.
Please use our suggested letter below (or even better write your own!)
"Dear (Tesco or Asda)
I was extremely disappointed to hear that you would not be following the lead of other supermarkets by pledging to go cage-free.
Chickens in battery cages have just 550 cm2 of space - about the area of a sheet of A4 paper. As a hen's wingspan is 76-80 cm - about the width of four pieces of A4 paper - they spend their entire lives unable to spread their wings. Without so much as a shred of straw for comfort, all of the hen's natural instincts - including nesting, perching, scratching and pecking - are denied. The bare wire mesh floor cuts into the hens' feet and they are forced to balance on slopes of up to 12 degrees. This is might be convenient for collecting the eggs, but is incredibly uncomfortable for the hens.
In 1999, the Council of the European Union judged that battery cages are so cruel they should be banned across the EU. This is being introduced in 2012. A recent survey showed that 62 per cent of EU consumers would be willing to change where they shop to buy more animal friendly food.
Please put principles in front of profit and commit to going cage free.
I look forward to hearing back from you."
Philip Clarke, Chief Executive,
Tesco, Tesco House, PO Box 18, Delamare Road, Cheshunt, Herts EN8 9SL.
Email at: email@example.com.
Call customer services on freefone 0800 505 555
Andy Bond, President,
Asda, Asda House, Southbank, Great Wilson Street, Leeds, LS11 5AD
Call customer services on 0500 100055