In the year to June 2012, 551 million chickens were slaughtered in Australia(1). Chickens are the largest number of intensively farmed animals in Australia and also have the shortest life of all animals kept in intensive meat production.
In Australia, meat chickens in total confinement systems are farmed in large sheds. Shed sizes vary, but a typical new shed is 150 metres long and 15 metres wide and cram in around 40,000 chickens. The largest sheds can hold up to 60,000 broiler (meat) chickens.
There may be between 3 and 10 sheds on one property. A typical new intensive system holds approximately 320,000 chickens, with eight sheds each holding approximately 40,000 chickens (2).
Chickens are slaughtered between 6-8 weeks of age at around 3kgs. Normally it would take a chicken 96 days to reach 2kgs. Now, with the use of selective breeding combined with artificial lighting, overcrowding and drug use to accelerate rapid growth, chickens can reach this weight in just 35 days (2).
Same species feeding is common and completely unregulated in Australia (3). That is, dead birds are collected, rendered and added to feed that is given to chickens to eat. Other animals that could be in the feed include pigs and turkeys (2). The practice of using slaughterhouse waste and deceased animals in feed mixes was implicated in the development of the prion disease Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow's Disease which can affect humans who eat the meat (4).
An Animal Liberation exposé
Airing never seen before footage of the cruel broiler chicken industry
The regulating authorities have failed to advocate for these animals. We see it as our duty to assist and protect these animals by documenting evidence of their suffering and to show the public the truth of what is happening behind these shed walls, to put pressure onto the regulating authorities to act to end this suffering.