Press release on MAF broiler chicken report
Press Release – For Immediate Release
Campaign Against Factory Farming (CAFF)
The latest MAF report on broiler chicken welfare, supervised by industry interests, is misleading, says animal welfare scientist and chair of the Campaign Against Factory Farming Dr. Michael Morris. "It may be true that our welfare standards are better than those overseas, but lets face it, the competition is not exactly stiff", says Dr. Morris. "Broiler chickens are genetic freaks. They have been selected to grow so quickly that their legs, skeletal structure and heart simply cannot cope with their body mass. The published mortality of 3.8%, and the "severe leg weakness" figure of 0.88% therefore represents a far greater rate of chronic pain".
CAFF highlight the studies of Dr. John Webster, professor of animal welfare at Bristol University, who estimates that broilers are in chronic pain for the last 20% of their lives, and describes the broiler industry as "the single, most severe systematic example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal".
The MAF report also does not detail suffering in slaughterhouses. Shackling birds by their legs exacerbates their already considerable leg pain. High line speed makes it inevitable that a high proportion of broilers will be scalded alive, as well as making contamination with Campylobacter ubiquitous.
For the benefit of their own health as well as the birds, CAFF is urging everyone to avoid chicken meat that is not clearly labeled "free range", including chicken sold in fast food franchises and restaurants.