At hatcheries, male chicks are gassed or crushed on conveyor belt machines by the thousands and thousands. At many facilities, egg-laying hens are placed inside of cramped battery cages where they can hardly move. In cage-free operations, hens live in darkness and shit all over each other and never get fresh air. It is not unusual for some of the larger plants to squeeze 20,000 hens into cage-free facilities, and each one of these animals will eventually be slaughtered; one huge outfit in Virginia has put 48,000 birds in a cage-free facility. Hens are de-beaked and that process is incredibly painful. Whether egg-laying hens are caged or not, they live tragic, short, hellish lives and they're all ultimately murdered by human beings.
In short, chickens raised for human consumption - so people can devour meat which they don't need to survive - live truly nightmarish existences. And understand this: There is no "compassionate" alternative. Murder is murder. And all meat amounts to murder.
Thank God United Poultry Concerns (UPC) is fighting the good fight and lobbying for the humane treatment of chickens. UPC is also encouraging the public to go vegan. The wonderful folks at UPC understand that if you reduce demand, you curtail the widespread and systematic abuse of chickens in poultry farms. UPC runs a large sanctuary in Virginia where they provide a loving home for all kinds of domestic fowl, including ducks, turkeys, pheasants and chickens. They also publish a wonderful booklet titled Life Can Be Beautiful - Go Vegan! (click here to see it in PDF format). At one point, the booklet quotes a former Tyson slaughterhouse worker: "We changed our diet. We couldn't look at a piece of meat anymore without seeing the sad, tortured face that was attached to it sometime in the past."
If you get a chance, visit UPC's Website. Find out what they're doing. If you can contribute a little to their cause, please do so. This is just one of many groups fighting the good fight for animals. Sometimes the struggle seems hopeless. But as long as good people refuse to compromise or surrender on the issue of animal rights, there will always be hope.