United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

May 23, 2002
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Featherless Chicken is Cruel, Obscene, and Absurd

Machipongo, VA - An Israeli researcher is claiming that thousands of naked chickens could be crowded together in filthy, ammonia-filled sheds awaiting their death the same as feathered chickens. His attitude towards the chickens he is stripping bare in his laboratory is expressed in his description of one of them as an "ugly beast" (New Scientist, May 21, 2002). However, it is not the chicken who is the ugly beast. This researcher's work should be rejected. It is not only immoral; it is impracticable.

Chickens have thin skin, and "broiler" chickens have even thinner skin, probably because they cannot manufacture enough skin cells to cover their overweight bodies, which grow several times faster and larger than normal chickens' bodies. The skin of "broiler" chickens tears and bruises very easily, and it is very sensitive, even with full plumage. Parent flock females are physically ravaged within a few months of being locked up in breeder houses with the prematurely aged, hormonally deranged cockerels, who are constantly mating with them in lieu of normal growth and environmental stimulation.

Hens in battery cages typically lose 40 percent of their feathers within a few months of caged confinement. They develop skin abrasions and abscesses from constantly rubbing against one another. "Broiler" chickens are raised on filthy ammonia-drenched litter (rice hulls and excrement). They develop ammonia-burned breasts because the toxic ammonia trapped in the litter burns through their breast feathers causing painful breast blisters similar to bed sores. The poultry industry has complained for decades about the "carcass damage" in these birds resulting from the breast blisters, torn skin, bruises, dermatitis, and other skin injuries and diseases that result from how they are treated and raised.

Previous efforts to "save feed costs" by inflicting trauma and deformity on chickens and turkeys have included burning off their wings and tails and feeding them slurry through holes cut in their necks. The theory was that they wouldn't have to "waste energy/feed" in growing these appendages or by pecking. As Joyce D'Silva of Compassion in World Farming told New Scientist (May 21, 2002) regarding the featherless chicken research, "It's a prime example of sick science and the suggestion that it would be an improvement for developing countries is obscene."

The only possible positive outcome of this sick science is that it shows the nadir of depravity to which a violent, animal-based diet leads and thus encourages more people to become compassionate vegetarians.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit www.UPC-online.org

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