SPCA Says Chicken Giant's Claims Misleading
There's very little that's pure, natural or healthy about the way Tegel chickens are reared, according to New Zealand's leading animal welfare organisation.
The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it agrees with Green Party MP Sue Kedgley, who has complained to the Advertising Standards Complaints Board and the Commerce Commission about Tegel's current advertising campaign.
"Tegel's advertising suggests its chickens are reared in pure, natural and healthy conditions. But anyone who's ever seen broiler chickens struggling for space on their weakened legs, would find Tegel's claims to be misleading," says Royal New Zealand SPCA National Campaign Coordinator, Hans Kriek.
"Every year, over two million of New Zealand's 60 million broiler chickens die prematurely. These unfortunate birds are unable to cope with the unnaturally fast growth forced upon them.
"Broiler chickens used to take 80 days to reach slaughter weight. However, this has been reduced to only 40 days, through the use of selective breeding, routine feeding of anti-biotic growth agents and exposure to 23 hours of light in order to encourage constant eating. Rapid growth places enormous stress on chickens' bones, hearts and lungs and they suffer accordingly," he says.
Mr Kriek adds that broiler chickens are also kept in hugely over-crowded conditions, thanks to industry standards, which allow for 20 birds to be crammed into one square metre.
"The fact is that broiler chickens aren't pure, natural or healthy. Instead, they are chemically propped-up unhealthy creatures who suffer when large corporates put profit before welfare," he says.