Chicken Scratch is an ASPCA Blog feature that highlights interesting news about farm animals and farm animal welfare.
A new investigative piece by online media company Fusion brings us behind the normally closed doors of America’s chicken industry, thanks to one fed-up farmer. The six-part series, which can be viewed here, reveals the inhumane, unhealthy conditions that define modern poultry factory farming deeply affect farmers as well as birds. “Producers” like Craig Watts disagree with the way they are forced to raise chickens, but fear of retribution by the big poultry companies has kept them silent—until now.
When Fusion investigative correspondent Mariana Van Zeller enters one of Watts’ poultry sheds for the first time, she is struck by its size and the stench of ammonia. As Watts says, the math is easy enough: 30,000 birds in a 20,000-square-foot shed means each bird has less than one square foot of floor space. With nowhere to move and fast-growth genetics that leave them struggling to carry their own weight, many birds develop raw, open sores on their undersides from languishing in their own waste.
These conditions are designed for maximum profit for the poultry companies, but they have profound consequences on the well-being of animals and the farmers. The poultry industry estimates a 3-5% mortality rate in broiler chickens on farms. That means more than 260 million birds die before they go to slaughter each year.
Although large poultry companies set the birds’ living conditions and have created crippling breed traits, it’s the farmers who are responsible for culling the sick and deformed animals. When Van Zeller asks Watts how he feels having to euthanize so many birds every day, he responds that it is “disheartening on two levels. One, having to do this to a live animal. And two, that I know it’s going to hurt me financially.”
The ASPCA is committed to improving the lives of chickens raised on farms across this country. If you are concerned about this issue and want to request that products from healthier, more humanely raised animals be sold in your local stores, take action at TruthAboutChicken.org today.
Update: View our video below for footage from this operation and for a closer look at many of the dogs we rescued in the process.
This post was originally published on February 24, 2015.
Acting at the request of the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, the ASPCA is on the ground in Mountain View, Arkansas, today removing approximately 100 dogs from an overwhelmed rescue group’s facility. The facility agreed to surrender the dogs due to its lack of sufficient resources. The dogs—including Huskies, Labs and Beagles—range from two days to 10 years old. The majority were never spayed or neutered and several are pregnant.
Last week, the ASPCA assisted the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in removing several Yorkshire Terrier puppies from a building in Lower Manhattan.
The puppies are currently receiving medical care at the ASPCA Hospital, and as this is still an open case with the NYPD, we cannot provide further details at this time.
“This is another example of the partnership between the NYPD and the ASPCA working to rescue animals in New York City,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group. “Fortunately, these puppies are now getting expert care from ASPCA veterinary staff. We are hopeful that they will be healthy enough to find homes this spring.”
As part of its support, Febreze is working to help eliminate a significant barrier to pet adoption: pet odors. Febreze will be distributing free Noseblind Prevention Kits to pet adopters through participating shelters in ASPCA partner communities nationwide. Instagram star and rescue dog Toast Meets World has joined up with Febreze to help share the news with pet lovers everywhere, and to promote pet adoption.
Please Note: We have seen some comments and concerns about animal testing in response to this post. Febreze products are not tested on animals, and have been extensively evaluated for safety using alternative testing methods. Febreze works closely with leading animal protection groups, such as the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States, to promote alternative research methods.
Update: The response to our petition to end Greyhound racing in the U.S. has exceeded our expectations—it garnered 100,000 signatures within its first week and is officially one of the top 100 active U.S. petitions on Change.org. Please help us keep the momentum going for these suffering dogs: add your name and let’s hit 200,000 signatures!
This post was originally published on February 11, 2015.
The ASPCA and Greyhound-protection group GREY2K USA yesterday released “High Stakes,” the first-ever national report to comprehensively document the current state of the Greyhound racing industry in the United States.
The eye-opening report [PDF] includes devastating data on the number of deaths (909) and injuries (11,000) suffered by racing Greyhounds from 2008 to 2014—however, these are just the verifiable, reported figures. Along with Alabama, Florida, which is home to more than half of the nation’s active dog racing tracks, does not require Greyhound injuries to be reported at all.
"People don't realize how treacherous the life of a racing Greyhound dog is—broken legs, skulls, backs, severed toes, electrocution, even cardiac arrest because of the stress," says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. "We want people to understand these aren’t dogs playing in a dog park—they are literally running for their lives."
Once their racing days are over, some dogs are killed, others are put into breeding programs, and a relatively small percentage are fortunate enough to be placed for adoption—but no one knows where the vast majority of the estimated 80,000 Greyhounds born into dog racing have ended up.
Due to declining attendance as the public grows increasingly outraged by this “sport,” gaming operations are losing tens of millions of dollars by operating racetracks. States are losing money, too, because it costs more to regulate Greyhound racing than it generates in tax revenue. “This cruel ‘sport’ continues to exploit Greyhounds despite public outcry and overwhelming financial losses,” says Perry. The seven states with active tracks are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia. By contrast, 39 states have passed outright bans on dog racing.
In conjunction with the release of High Stakes, the ASPCA and GREY2K USA are urging state legislators to bring an end to this inherently cruel sport.
You can help—please visit www.change.org/highstakes to sign our petition to the governors of the seven racing states asking them to support an end to dog racing.