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Images of green chicken at Pak’nSave a result of cruelty

An image of green chicken meat sold at Pak’nSave has shocked many New Zealanders on social media and shows a small glimpse into the cruel reality of the chicken meat industry.

The image submitted by a New Zealand user on the website Reddit shows green chicken meat for sale at a discounted price at Pak’nSave. A Newshub article followed, where a senior lecturer in animal nutrition and meat science at Massey University explained the colour was the result of chicken muscle growing faster than the rate at which oxygen can be supplied to the muscle.

SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald says the condition that causes the green colouring is more common in fast growing breeds of chicken and would have been painful for those birds.

"The green colouring of that chicken meat is a small glimpse into the awful lives faced by chickens in the meat industry," says Ms Macdonald.

"The presence of painful, hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) muscle tissue is far more common in the fast growing chicken breeds used in the meat industry, and green flesh is one of the symptoms."

"Sick and Deformed (SAD) chickens have been selectively bred to grow explosively fast. They reach their slaughter weight at five to six weeks when they’re still cheeping like baby chicks. They suffer from painful ailments because their bodies can’t keep up with the fast growth. Many drop dead from heart failure, and for those that make it through the first few weeks, almost a third suffer painful lameness."

"Pak’nSave customers were unsurprisingly shocked by the green chicken meat, but many would be even more disturbed by the suffering of those chickens."

All chickens bred for meat in New Zealand, including free range, share the fast growing chicken genetics. Poultry industry spokesperson Michael Brooks has confirmed (1) that thousands die every day in sheds around New Zealand.

"The easiest way for caring Kiwis to help chickens is by taking them off their plate and instead choose delicious plant-based alternatives," adds Ms Macdonald.

"An increasing number of overseas supermarkets and food retailers are responding to public concern about SAD chickens by moving away from fast-grow breeds. Chickens that grow slower, don’t have the same level of health problems and suffering."

"The move to ‘slow-grow’ breeds is already happening in Europe and parts of the United States. New Zealand is lagging behind," says Ms Macdonald.


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