More Information

An undercover investigator with Mercy For Animals documented the heart-wrenching cruelty of the poultry industry, including:

  • Birds having their fragile wings and legs broken as they were hastily and violently shackled upside down
  • Severely sick, injured, and dying chickens sent through the slaughter line along with other birds intended for human consumption
  • Frightened birds dragged through an electrified vat of water, painfully shocked but left fully conscious
  • Birds having their throats sliced open while still conscious and able to feel pain

Expert Opinions

After reviewing the undercover footage, Dr. Bernard Rollin of the Animal Sciences Department at Colorado State University stated: "From the moment that the chickens are dumped from trucks to a conveyor belt in large groups, surely terrifying, and then hung upside down by their feet, we can be morally certain that the animals are experiencing significant fear. … Still hanging by their feet, the birds are transported to a stunning electrical bath, which is supposed to render them insensible, before they are cut up by a mechanical knife. It is evident from the video that many animals are still conscious when this occurs."

Dr. Sara Shields, a research scientist and consultant in animal welfare with a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California, reviewed the video and concluded: "The slaughter of poultry in the United States is in dire need of reform. Transport, unloading, shackling, stunning and slaughter itself are all sources of significant physical and psychological trauma."

Choose Kindness Over Cruelty

Broiler chickens, the breed typically used for meat, have been bred to grow obese so quickly that many of them become crippled under their own weight. Unable to walk, many die of dehydration when they can’t reach water. Others die from heart attacks, organ failure, and other obesity-related causes. High levels of ammonia due to the filthy factory farm conditions also lead to severe skin and throat irritations, blindness, and deadly respiratory problems.

At a typical broiler chicken factory farm, hundreds of birds die every day from the diseased and unsanitary conditions. Those who survive are carelessly grabbed by their legs, wings, and necks and violently slammed into transport crates. Many of the birds have their wings or heads closed in the cage doors, causing severe pain and injury. The birds are then shipped through all weather extremes to be slaughtered.

Chickens are typically only 42 days old when sent to slaughter. Despite their enormous size, they are clearly baby birds, as they still peep like chicks instead of clucking like chickens.

At the slaughterhouse, terrified and exhausted chickens are dumped out of their crates, and workers quickly hang them upside down in metal shackles. This brutal process causes many of the birds to suffer from broken legs and wings. Once in the shackles, the birds are dragged through an electrified water bath meant to paralyze them, not render them unconscious. This means that chickens are still completely aware when their throats are cut.

Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of the animals killed for food in the U.S. are chickens, the United States Department of Agriculture specifically excludes poultry from the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires livestock to be rendered unconscious prior to slaughter. For no good reason, the USDA chooses to define “livestock” as cows and pigs, but not chickens or turkeys, forcing billions of animals a year to endure almost unimaginable suffering at slaughter while still conscious and able to feel pain.

Although unconscionable cruelty and violence are standard practice for Gordon Food Service suppliers, caring consumers can help end the needless suffering of chickens and other farmed animals by choosing vegan alternatives to meat, milk, and eggs. Please visit to learn more.