Catching, Transport, and Slaughter
At 6 - 12 weeks old, baby “broiler” and “roaster” chickens are cornered and grabbed by catching crews and carried upside down by their legs – struggling, flapping, and crying – to the transport truck. Jammed inside coops they may travel up to 12 hours to the slaughterhouse through heat, wind, rain, sleet, and snow without food or water.
Spent laying hens are simply flung from the battery cages to the transport crates by their wings, feet, legs, head, or whatever is grabbed. They are electrocuted, suffocated, buried alive, gassed, or chopped to pieces, alive, by woodchipper blades. Half-naked from feather loss caused by crowded caging, and terrorized by a lifetime of abuse, hens in transport experience such intense fear that many are paralyzed by the time they reach their final destination –rendering company, slaughterhouse, landfill, grinder. Starved for 4 days before catching, they are a mass of broken bones, oozing abscesses, bruises, and internal hemorrhage. They are covered with the slime of broken eggs and pieces of shells. When not buried alive, these hens are shredded into human food, pet food, mink feed and poultry feed.
At the slaughterhouse, after being held in the trucks for 1 to 12 hours, chickens raised for meat are torn from the cages and hung upside down on a movable rack. As they move towards the killing knife, they are dragged through an electric current that paralyzes them but does not render them unconscious or pain-free. Millions of birds are alive, conscious and breathing not only as their throats are cut but afterwards, when their bodies are plunged into scalding water to remove their feathers. In the scalder “the chickens scream, kick, and their eyeballs pop out of their heads.” The industry calls these birds “redskins” – birds who were scalded while they were still alive.