Dead on Arrival: A Million Chickens Die on the Way to Slaughter Each Year

Posted by on September 7, 2018 | Permalink

Crammed into claustrophobic crates for transportation to slaughter, chickens raised for their flesh endure a living hell before being killed. Many are subjected to conditions so horrendous that they die on the way to the abattoir.

Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals

According to a report released by The Times this week, there has been a dramatic increase in the last two years in the number of animal-welfare violations detected during the transportation of animals to abattoirs in England and Wales – the figure has tripled since 2015–2016 to more than 3,800 in 2017–2018.

The vast majority of deaths in transit are of chickens, and they occur primarily because the birds are rammed into cramped crates that are stacked on top of one another, where they commonly suffocate or sustain broken or dislocated bones. Research shows that over a million of the 950 million chickens raised for meat in England and Wales every year die on the way to the abattoir.


Chickens reared for their flesh, referred to by the meat industry as “broiler chickens”, are farmed more intensively than any other type of animal. Newly hatched chicks are sent into huge, dusty, windowless sheds with 30,000 or more other birds. Bred and fed to have such a large upper body that they can barely support their own weight, these unhappy birds may reach “slaughter weight” at only 41 days old.

Birds in these grim factory prisons commonly suffer from severe health problems, including deformed or arthritic legs because of excessive weight gain, foot rot from never having their bedding changed, infectious diseases such as salmonellosis and listeriosis, and heat stress, heart failure, breast blisters, and dermatitis caused by severe crowding.

Chickens are intelligent and can be cheeky, playful, and sociable – each one has a unique personality. They can communicate using complex vocalisations, have the capacity for mathematical reasoning, and are dedicated to their families.

The vast majority of chickens raised for their flesh are sent to slaughter without ever having roosted in a tree, taken a dust bath, interacted with their parents, or done any of the other things that are natural and important to them. These birds are so much more than just a collection of nuggets, wings, and drumsticks, and they don’t deserve to be treated like products.

Chickens are subjected to horrific cruelty for meat, but you can help end their suffering. By going vegan, you’ll stop contributing to the violence that’s inherent in an industry that exploits and kills animals for profit. Download our free vegan starter kit today to make the switch and save animals’ lives!