These Disgusting Revelations About the UK Chicken Industry Will Confirm Your Worst Fears About Meat

Posted by 2 years ago | Permalink | Comments (30)

A five-month undercover investigation by The Guardian, published this week, reveals some of the UK chicken industry’s darkest secrets.

Chicken - We Animals

The investigation focussed on meat processing plants that supply some of the UK’s largest supermarkets, including Tesco, M&S and Asda. It found that a shocking two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK is contaminated with campylobacter, a potentially deadly cause of food poisoning. In the UK, approximately 280,000 people a year are thought to become ill from campylobacter (80 per cent of which comes from chicken).

Some of the images and video footage from the investigation – showing mountains of chicken guts piled on bloody factory floors, conveyor belts heaped up with faeces-coated feathers and filthy machinery – are certainly likely to put many people off eating meat.

But the investigation’s findings weren’t just disturbing from the point of view of hygiene. They also provide a chilling glimpse into how chickens are treated and killed before they end up as a pile of offal on a dirty factory floor. The following are some of the upsetting facts:

On the Farm

  • On large-scale industrial farms, as many as 40,000 chickens at a time are raised in “crops”.
  • The birds usually reach slaughter weight (around 1.8kg) in just 42 days.
  • Farms cram as many animals as possible into vast, poorly lit sheds. The Guardian writes:

“To maximise return on capital invested in floor space, it is common practice to overstock sheds with chicks at the beginning of the cycle and then send in teams of catchers to thin out some of the birds so that the rest of the chickens have just enough room to meet regulations on stocking densities as they grow to full slaughter weight”.

  • According to the reporters, this practice of chicken “thinning” leads to the spread of bacteria, because the frightened animals panic and defecate whenever workers enter the densely packed sheds.

The Journey to Death

  • Chickens are packed into crates which are piled on top of one another in lorries and driven to the slaughterhouse. Faeces fall through the gaps in the crates onto the birds at the bottom.
  • Transport is highly stressful for the animals, but it can last for hours. Sometimes they’re even left in the crates overnight.

At the Abattoir

On abattoir “production lines”, birds are shackled and hung upside down by their feet on a moving conveyor belt which carries them to their death and dismemberment.

  • After they’ve been slaughtered, rubber fingers pull out their feathers and automated metal fists scoop out their guts before their body parts are packaged for the supermarket.
  • Large abattoirs typically run lines at a rate of 185 to 195 birds a minute – killing nearly 12,000 animals an hour. Across Britain, a staggering 17 million chickens are slaughtered each week.

Chickens are sensitive animals with unique personalities. Like us, they dream, sunbathe, live in complex societies and make sacrifices to protect their children – that is, when they have the chance. On intensive farms, they never get the chance to express any of this natural behaviour. All they know is suffering and terror.

Please do your part to stop the suffering of these abused animals by never eating chicken. You could avoid a nasty case of food poisoning at the same time!

Our 30-day pledge is a great way to get started on a compassionate diet:

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Image: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals



  • kate commented on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    terrible ought to be ashamed

  • LESLEY SUMMERS commented on July 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    0034 687959411

    I am a Geography teacher, a conservationist, an environmentalist and
    hope to help save all animals from extinction and creatures of the sea and air.
    Horriefied to read how the chicken suffer before death too.

    • Ellen commented on August 8, 2014 at 1:42 am

      So are you a vegan as well? You can’t be an environmentalist if you still eat meat.

  • Marilyn O'Loughlin commented on July 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Another reason to put CCTV into these places by law! This is disgusting. Why can’t these people make their last few moments being kind and not carrying them like this! It’s bad enough they are slaughtered. I buy my chicken from the farm up the road. You can see them enjoying life in the fields. The owners are caring and they have a good life before they are slaughtered ON THEIR PREMISES.

  • Ricky Leggott commented on July 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    I am an animal lover but I do however eat chicken, this had certainly opened my eyes to what is happening and I will be taking the pledge. Disgusted is not the word!

  • Soraya Aslam commented on July 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    All I can say is shame on those who choose not to see where their meat is from. One of the best things my parents ever did for me is raising me a vegetarian. I’m doing the same for my kids.

  • Rebecca commented on July 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    To quote Paul Mcartney, “if every slaughterhouse had glass walls, we would all be vegetarian.

  • Janet thomas commented on July 25, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    I hope all those people come back as animals & Chechens. Then they will know what it is like to be treated just like a commodity. One day one day. !!

  • Yvonne kirkham commented on July 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    This must stop

  • nelam commented on July 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Please act on ending the unecesssry suffering inflicted on these innocent souls. Do the chickens a favour, whilst ensuring the welfare of the consumer, though being a vegetarian would be preferable.

    • Ellen commented on August 8, 2014 at 1:53 am

      As a vegetarian one is still contributing to the horrific deaths of day-old male chicks (they can’t lay eggs so they’re either ground up alive or thrown in the trash where they suffocate to death).

  • Amy commented on July 25, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I am so saddened by this, it is just disgusting and disgraceful! People need to know more about where their food comes from and how it is processed! I genuinely think that if awareness is raised then people will start to take responsibility and buy properly sourced meat, or even better, become a veggie like me 🙂

    So much is hidden from people and also people are in denial and don’t even want or need to think about where their meat has come from! These barbaric examples need to be widely exposed!!

  • Lucia frankitt commented on July 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    How disgusting ! I had no idea this cruelty was going on ! It has to stop

  • Elaine cairney commented on July 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    These places should all be regulated and checked often for mal practice, or we should find an alternative to chicken

  • Lin commented on July 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I have been a veggie for many years and am glad too. This is a disgraceful way to treat any living creature. The law does not do enough to tighten restrictions. Is it any wonder that there is so much illness and disease within both the animal and human kingdom with these practices going on? Regular uninformed spot checks would be a start, larger fines, more prosecutions etc and even jail terms.

  • P Mclaughlan commented on July 26, 2014 at 7:14 am

    bloody disgusting.

  • P Mclaughlan commented on July 26, 2014 at 7:15 am

    bloody disgusting

  • Maria commented on August 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    People love their pet dogs and cats but have such disregard for farm animals. It’s so sad. Human beings are so exploitative and cruel.

  • sally scott commented on August 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    farming on this scale does not work its cruel its dirty it spreads decease to the chickens and humans how can they which out for this many birds( because they don’t) and we pay the price be becoming ill with stomach bugs cancer and all sorts I agree that there must be cctv

  • Mongibello commented on August 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Slaughter houses should have glass walls. I am a veggie but wish food animals could be raised and slaughtered in a totally humane way.

  • Brian Thompson commented on August 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    This is farming for profit. There is no thought whatsoever given to the welfare of the animals or even the consumers. Its all about the buck. If you choose to eat meat then its YOU who are in the best position to stop this cruelty. It is you that pays for this industry and therefore it is you that the industry will listen to. Not because they care but because they can’t afford for you to shop elsewhere. If you want to change this situation then join the boycott. They may not listen to you but they will definitely listen to your pocket. Even better try the meat free alternatives which are surprisingly good these days and also allow you the benefit of being smug with all your carnivorous friends. 😀

  • Ann Hallbom Lech, Sweden commented on August 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I am glad I am vegetarian! Please stop this cruelty!

  • lisa james commented on August 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Well i’ve seen and read things before about this disgusting way in which people treat animals, you do not need these kinds of food to live and survive. I have been a vegetarian for 27 years and vegan now for 4 years i have 5 dogs who are also vegan. Theres really no need for this cruel treatment of these lovely birds.

  • Mr. Frank Hambling commented on August 8, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Not only should these disgusting farms be named, but also the owners and chief shareholders be named as well. The nationwide stores that are happy to turn a blind eye to what their suppliers are doing for the sake of profit, should be highlighted and if it is at all possible, shamed. If it is made public nationally what is happening to make these companies a profit, then maybe many of their shareholders will make known their disgust.

  • Virginia Greenwood-Warner commented on August 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I am a vegan because I adore all animals, birds and fish. The people who do eat the flesh of another creature should hang their heads in shame. It is them who is directly responsible for this as they are the ones creating the demand. Apart from that obvious fact it should be totally compulsory for all farms to have CCTV cameras which should be open for inspection any time by the SPCA or similar org. For obvious reasons the farmers or companies breeding animals will object but too frigging bad they are getting away with not just murder but horrific torture.

  • Glasgow-ashleigh commented on August 9, 2014 at 1:43 am

    I’m not a veggie. I have tried it for 4 months and struggled with it. I would love to know exactly where my food came from. I worry about what is happening to the animals. I kind of feel deceived by the retailers, you never hear anything about cruelty but I know deep down that not everyone is respectful of the life’s and well being of others so their will definitely be harm. I’m planning on cutting out all red meat and see how I do with that. I’m also going to replace most of my meals with only vegetables which I hate but could learn to love. I feel that I am making a move in the right direction to protect myself from the guilt of being the enabler x

  • Fiona Moss commented on August 9, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I’ve given a second home to a minute number of lucky hens for many years now – rescued from intensive chicken farms by dedicated BHWT teams and animal sanctuaries across the country. I can vouch for the fact that chickens are sensitive, funny and affectionate creatures and our girls are at the heart of our family, along with our other pets. Seeing them emerge from their abject terror of humans of their first few days and weeks with us to become confident, happy – and feathered – birds, pottering about the garden (and walking in the house!) is humbling. The first time they stand on tiptoe and flap their wings or run to you down the garden is priceless. They are not a pretty sight when they first arrive and some don’t make it beyond the first week – broken wings and so weakened by their experiences in some cases; in my latest group, one hen experienced just 5 days of freedom before she died. I wanted my children to see this so they make the connection between plate and animal – in my case, no animal, as the only animal product I consume is my own girls’ eggs. It’s a a drop in the ocean, I know (17 MILLION killed in the UK in one week), but my girls all live out their days with us. The bigger picture of the UK chicken industry is frankly a disgrace to humanity. Roll on CCTV in farms and abbatoirs – and if you can give a handful of those lucky enough to make it out of the farm alive, do – you won’t look back!

  • Tulin commented on August 10, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    It’s cruel should would they like it.these poor chickens should not should happen those who do this.

  • Ellen Gaston commented on August 18, 2014 at 6:46 am

    I’m glad I stopped eating the abject cruelty they peddle. I further refuse to participate in giving corrupt governments the satisfaction of propping up these industries they protect by criminalizing people exposing the truth. Keep up the corrupt ag-gag laws, government! It only strengthens my resolve to give you and the evil meat industry the finger.

  • Cara commented on November 15, 2014 at 12:38 am

    People are so easily take in. I work at a chicken factory and there is a vet on site at all times. They are killed quickly. This report is about 2 sites that journalists got in. They didn’t tell you that at the other sites they got into, everything was operating to industry standard. Every idiot believes everything they read, it’s quite pathetic

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