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50 days report summary
50 days of Mei the broiler
Mei was born at the hatchery and was trucked to the farm. 60,000 chicks arrived that day. There were several poultry shacks on the farm, one of which Mei was roughly tossed in. Mei, who hit the water pipe and dropped to the ground, got up startled.
The chirping chicks didn’t know what had happened. Where is this? After being just startled and confused, Mei found food and water. She hurriedly pecked at the food. She hadn’t eaten anything since she was born. Mei, who was completely hungry, ate a full meal and slept among the smell of new fluffy sawdust.
Mei and her mates wanted to peck something and play. However, there is nothing to peck around, and they have no choice but to poke at the stains on the ground and walls. Occasionally farm employees came and sat in the shack and worked quietly. What are they doing? Mei and her mates approached people who did not move and pecked with peace of mind.
However, when a person suddenly stood up, the chicks were surprised and ran away. Scary! Gotta run away! Because chicks scared of sudden movements run around all at once, sometimes employees step on their small bodies. The internal organs pop out of the buttocks of the trampled chicks, they flap their wings suffering from pain and crawl toward the corner. Dragging their damaged internal organs, they died.
Sometimes employees step on the chicks. Internal organs would pop out from the buttocks and they flap their wings and crawl away. Dragging their damaged internal organs, they die
There was a chick whose body began to weaken. S/he shut the eyes tightly, shrugging the shoulders, and crouching. S/he didn’t recover and the condition got worse, but had no choice but to lie there. With the body still immobile, s/he opened the mouth wide and repeated rough breathing, trying to take in as much oxygen like a person on the verge of dying. There were also chicks with twisted necks. They can’t raise their necks straight, and every time they move, their bodies spin and they can’t even eat. Even so, they tried many times wanting to eat food, but couldn’t eat and gave up. But after a while, they would get up again and try to eat. Eventually, they became weak and unable to move, and died one by one. When the chicks died, they were collected in one place and disposed of by employees every day.
Mei is still alive today, watching her companions die.
Mei is getting so big that you can clearly see it even if you watch her every day. Her butt is also getting heavy.
But some of Mei’s friends couldn’t grow up yet, and there were some very small chicks. Small chicks are often weak. But even if they are fine, if they are small, they will be culled.
When the temperature of the poultry shack rose in the daytime, the chicks’ breathing became rough. Mei searched for a place that was as cool as possible, and lifted her wings from her body in an attempt to dissipate the heat. But no matter whatsheI did, it was difficult to escape from the heat. The chicks just have to endure until the temperature in the poultry shack drops.
As days go by, around Mei are more chicks with twisted feet and difficulty walking. Due to bone defects from birth, some can’t get up after falling. Once such chicks fall, they cannot get up on their own. Employees sometimes noticed and let the chicks stand up, but soon they fell again on their backs. There are tens of thousands of chicks in the poultry shack, so even if some flip over and struggle, they may not get noticed. In some cases, they got exhausted without being helped up and died.
The temperature of the poultry shack rose around noon again today. Mei and the others are still enduring the heat.
The shack has no windows, and the same scenery continues every day no matter where they go. Mei tries to find in the monotonous shack something interesting or strange, but often just stands there with nothing to do.
Around noon, the temperature rose to 36 C. The temperature of the shack does not drop even if the sun goes down. All the chicks are staying still, opening their mouths and breathing with their whole bodies.
The chicks who cannot move their legs well have difficulty going to the place with feed, and cannot eat the feed satisfactorily. This made their body even smaller and weaker.
Today, with the temperature lower than yesterday, the chicks seemed to be somewhat comfortable. However, the poultry shack, which is crowded with tens of thousands of chicks, is hot in some spots, and the chicks there are not well.
They could move to a cooler spot, but the chicks don’t go too far. They’re worried about leaving their familiar friends, so they always want to be close to them.
A week has passed since they arrived here. Mei’s weight has increased 5 times as much as when she arrived. As the chicks grew larger, the poultry shack got tighter, but Mei was still only large enough to fit in the palm of a human, and there was space around her to move around.
The ground is getting dirty with the droppings of the chicks, and what seemed like a fluffy bedding on the floor on the first day is beginning to solidify little by little. They are looking for dry places and sandbathing.
Mei and others are getting heavier by the day. With heavier bodies, there are more chicks who cannot get up, who have bad legs, and who have difficulty walking.
Chicks who were on their back for a long time, when helped by a person to get up, have their feathers missing. They must have struggled a lot trying to get back up. Even when they’re helped up, these chicks fall again in no time. They don’t always get helped up when they fall. After all, there are tens of thousands of chicks in the poultry shack. There are many things that go unnoticed. The chicks who can’t get up have no choice but to wait for death.
At this age, about 26 C is the appropriate temperature, but today’s temperature is 33 C. Some hot chicks are breathing with their mouths.
Around Mei, there seem to be more chicks who can’t bend their stretched legs and chicks who sit like dogs and can’t move. Chicks with their legs spread wide in a V shape are the ones who crawl on the ground using their wings. If the temperature was a little lower, they wouldn’t have to exhaust their energy.
Whether injured or ill, the chicks had no choice but to endure the pain without treatment. Until the injury heals naturally or the day they weaken to death.
Mei and her mates now weigh 7 times as much as the day they were born. How unnatural it would be if a human baby 10 days after birth grew to have as much weight as a first grader.
Chicks with bad legs grow worse, and flipped chicks fall again soon after being helped up by a person. Such chicks appear to suffer a lot. Their bodies must hurt if they move, so they often stay still.
As Mei and others grow up larger, they begin to poop a lot. Consequently, the floor becomes dirty and hardens with feces. The chicks cannot sandbathe on the hardened floor. When the breeding area is expanded, an area with new sawdust will appear. They found it right away and happily sandbathed.
Water dispensers and feeders are also gradually raised higher as the chicks grow. That’s just the right height for Mei. However, they are too high to reach for small ones and chicks who can’t stand. These weakened children become even less able to eat or even drink water.
People collected the carcasses of Mei’s mates every day. Squeezing in among the flock of chicks, they go around collecting dead children. Mei and her mates were scared of people walking around. So they tried their best to run away, but unfortunately chicks with bad legs and chicks who ran too slow got kicked. It is difficult for people to walk without stepping on them because many chicks run all over. There will be more and more chicks who get kicked and hurt. Carcasses collected this way were taken out of the shack by the people.
Sometimes there are chicks who have been badly injured. Such chicks tend to be in the corner, as if protecting themselves. The skin is peeling off and bleeding. Pitiful.
Mei became over 10 times heavier in two weeks. Her legs are also thick. From around this time, they look like animals that are completely different from ordinary chickens. Thick legs and rapid weight gain are due to “selective breeding”.
There are some chicks who can’t grow up; those chicks often have bad legs. Chicks with bad legs can’t eat and starve, and are even suffering from leg pain. Joints deform, swell, and sometimes fracture. They will not be treated.
It is hot again today. The chicks everywhere open their mouths and breathe heavily. The floor was getting harder and harder, and there was almost no place for Mei and her mates to sandbathe.
They can’t go outside. They can’t even see the scenery outside. Spending their time in the monotonous and unchanging shack since birth, their curiosity is not satisfied. Sandbathing was a precious pastime, but soon it will not be possible at all.
As Mei and her mates grew older, the poultry shack became overcrowded. Whether they look to the right or to the left, it’s full of chicks. Every day, they are beginning to feel anxious and stressed about the lack of space and congestion.
Unless she dies along the way, Mei will be “delivered” for meat after 35 days. By that time, she should be about 3 kg. The chicks who have been selectively bred to gain weight rapidly grow unbelievably fast. When shipped after growing six times as large as they are now, there will probably be no space to step in the poultry shack.
As Mei and her mates gain weight, it becomes overcrowded. The surface of the floor is gradually getting harder, and it appears difficult to sand-bathe.
It becomes increasingly difficult for chicks with bad legs to survive. This is because their beaks cannot reach the water dispenser and feeder, which become higher as the chicks grow.
Now, they’re drinking water little by little, giving momentum and jumping up. But they will soon be unable to reach at all.
Boring everyday. Chicks who are surrounded by the same wall and spend time looking at the same scenery. There is nothing to peck at, the ground is hard, and they can’t sand-bathe. The chicks, who couldn’t satisfy their chick-like curiosity, just ate food. Only the stomach is hungry, so the children who could walk to the feed area killed time by eating.
Mei and her mates weigh more than 16 times as much as they did when they came to the poultry shack. As they grew up, the big ones sometimes stepped on buddies who didn’t move. However, just because the bodies are large does not mean that the chicks are healthy, and there are many children who shake their heavy bodies and have unstable gait. And the visibly small children were just destined to be killed.
Chick with a bent neck seems to have difficulty eating food. A chick who is bleeding because the wing is missing as if it was broken seems to have low energy. A chick with deformed beaks from birth has not been able to eat properly for a long time, so s/he is very small and thin. A chick with bad legs has to crawl to move, which appears rough.
Everyone is doing their best to live, but they can’t do anything on their own. They just get weaker, and have to endure with their eyes shut painfully.
The world that Mei sees is not happy. It is not easy to find something in the poultry shack that can satisfy the curiosity of young Mei, even if their bodies are not deformed and they can stand and walk firmly. Outside, there are many things that can get their hearts excited and give them joy of living, such as trees, the sky and nature, the grass and insects, the moving sun, and the shadows. Mei and her mates never see it. Inside this dimly lit poultry shack is everything.
The ground is getting harder and harder with the droppings. They can hardly tell that the ground used to be sawdust anymore.
Mei hasn’t been sand-bathing for a long time. Some chicks are scratching the hard ground and imitating sand-bathing, but their feathers aren’t cleaned and their feelings not satisfied.
There are some water leaks from the water dispenser, and the ground beneath it is mushy to the point of leaving shoe marks.
Over 20 times larger than when they were born. For example, in the case of egg-layer hens, the weight at the age of 21 days is only about 200 g (egg-layer hens have not been selectively bred to grow faster). Broilers are growing 4 times faster.
If the ground becomes too muddy, sometimes a little bit of new sawdust gets added. Mei and her mates love the clean and smooth sawdust. Hurrying to the new sawdust, scratching the ground, rubbing their bodies, shaking their bodies, the chicks sand-bathe. They’re very happy. But there’s only a little new sawdust. Soon it will suck feces again and become hard and they will not be able to sand-bathe. Still, they were absorbed in it and enjoyed sand-bathing for the first time in a long time.
As the chicks grow, the positions of the water dispensers and feeders rise. They happen to be just right for Mei and most others, as they are raised for the average growth, but they can be too high for chicks with bad legs or small bodies. Right now they’re eating with momentum, but soon they won’t be able to reach at all.
There are chicks who don’t seem to move anymore. Mei and others still had the energy to flee when people walked into the poultry shack, but the weak chicks were just standing still. Even if they look around to be vigilant, they don’t have the energy to move. Even such weak chicks do not die immediately. The chicks, who couldn’t stand with their hips stuck on the ground hardened by feces, struggled to stand up many times. As if screaming “I want to live!”
The chicks, unable to stand and eat or drink, have long suffered from hunger and thirst, and inflammation of their buttocks and feet due to the damp ground.
When a person found weakened chicks, he sometimes twisted the necks and killed them on the spot. This method of twisting the neck is wrong. The twisted chicks fluttered their wings, fluttering their beaks, and took 2-3 minutes to become motionless. Which is better, being killed by human hands or being debilitated and taking a long time to die?
A chick with a deformed beak. Since the upper and lower beaks do not mesh with each other, it is difficult to pick up the feed. The body was smaller than the other chicks.
A chick with an injured butt just endured the pain of an unhealing wound by crouching.
Ammonia emitted by the accumulated feces has polluted the air. The ground contains a large amount of water in some places and remains sticky and does not dry.
Looking at the soles of the feet of chicks who died after being too weak to move for a long time, they are inflamed. This inflammation would have added pain to the dying chicks. The chicks, who died from injuries and hunger as babies, suffered from unimaginable foot pain just before their slow death.
Probably because of the added stress from molting, there were some chicks who were weak and crouched. Mei was much better compared to those chicks. But only the heat was unbearable. They can’t find a place where they could sand-bathe for distraction. Weak chicks can die. But Mei still had to live for the next 26 days until delivery.
Broilers in Japan get delivered 50 days after birth. Meaning they are halfway to being killed.
Their weight continues to increase. Had they not been selectively bred, it would’ve taken 100 days to reach this weight.
These chicks who have been selectively bred to grow unnaturally fast fatten 4x faster than normal, so their bodies can’t keep up, resulting in some chicks with difficulty walking, others unable to stand up.
As days go by, it seems like there are more such chicks.
For what do they live, and for what are they all suffering so much?
The flipped chick was finally helped up by a person, but since s/he had been flipped for a long time, s/he was breathing heavily. The back, which was in contact with the damp ground, was inflamed and bald. The base of the feather is especially terrible. Even if s/he stands up, the legs are wobbly, so s/he’ll probably flip over again soon.
A chick with the neck twisted 90 degrees hadn’t eaten much for a long time. Still, s/he is trying to peck the feed with the wobbly neck. Are there any happy chicks here? Mei could walk and eat, but it was boring to death. There is nothing interesting and they cannot even get cleaned by sand-bathing. Just eat and get fat. They’re still babies, but have no welfare.
Today, Mei happened to find a long straw in the ground. Mei, who had never seen anything like this, was so happy that she started running by herself. Without such a miracle, chicks would never be able to “play with the long stuff”. Nothing was given to the monotonous poultry shack to satisfy the curiosity of the chicks. But Mei, who found something amazing, was happy only today. The floor is just piled up with dirty sawdust and chicks’ droppings, and who knows how it got mixed in. Mei played with it for a long time.
Given such a trivial, barely unusual thing, the chick was happy like a child. There was nothing in the poultry shack that the chicks could play with, even though it didn’t have to be anything expensive. Humans here didn’t care about broiler enrichment, and were only interested in making Mei and others fat as meat.
The chicks were destined to be not even euthanized. Weak chicks wait to die on a feces-filled floor. If they are lucky, they’d be found and killed by a farmer. Of course, there is no anesthesia, and at best, the neck bone is suddenly dislocated and they die. Still, the chicks made faces, clapped their beaks, and struggled to death.
4 weeks have passed since Mei was born. She weighs 1345g, which is more than 33 times the weight she had when she was born. In the case of non-broiler chickens, they’d be 270g at the same age, so one can see how rapidly they are fattened. Mei is already barely holding up her heavy body, but 22 days from now she will weigh as much as 3 kg. Will Mei at that time still have the adorable remnants of today?
The height of the feeder and water dispenser get higher according to the average growth of the chicks like Mei. As a result, chicks with bad legs or those too small cannot reach and cannot drink or eat. Then they gradually lose weight and dehydrate severely. Such chicks endure the pain and use their wings to crawl to the feed area. By bouncing they somehow tried to drink water and eat the feed. They can’t do anything on their own.
Even in Mei’s poultry shack, one cannot tell how many chicks are suffering from lack of food and water. And at this instant, in all of Japan, or in the world, how many broiler babies are suffering?
To die without being able to drink water or eat food means starvation. Around Mei, who is fattened daily as a broiler, there were chicks who starved to death because they could not reach food and water.
At first, they tried their best many times stretching their necks and flapping their wings to drink food and water. However, without being able to eat, only their energy was deprived, and they gradually weakened.
They don’t die right away. They closed their eyes tightly and endured the pain. It doesn’t dull their senses. They are conscious and move their necks in response to the noise around them. Especially when people come in and walk around, their heartbeats rise and detect the danger with their whole bodies like “I have to run away!”. Chicks with energy sense the noise and signs at a glance. The chicks around them run away right away. But weakened chicks can no longer move, no matter how scared and how much they want to run away.
Not only the feet in contact with the ground but also the inside of the body is inflamed, and the whole body is in pain and suffering. The intolerable pain and fear that fills the whole body suddenly eases. That is death. At the moment of death, do the chicks think they were saved?
The ground is absorbing the droppings of the growing chicks and is becoming dirty and solid day by day . It is not uncommon for water to leak from the water supply pipe, and the ground beneath becomes even more filthy with a mixture of dung, sawdust, and water. The chicks nearby have to spend time in this mud. The chicks obviously don’t like to sit there. The chicks don’t like getting their hips wet, and the feathers don’t grow around Mei’s belly so the feces come into direct contact with the skin. Mei and her fellow chicks have thin feathers, as if nothing else matters other than their meat that becomes the product.
For a long time now they haven’t been able to sand-bathe, which is for maintaining cleanliness.
Sometimes there are chickens with deformed beaks. They seem to have difficulty pecking food with deformed beaks. They may also have genetic problems. As a result, chickens with deformed beaks are usually thin and very small. Among the growing herds of Mei and others, I see them walking as if they’re hiding. These chicks may not survive even for the only 50 days before they are killed. They will become unable to reach water and will weaken to death.
There was such a chick today as well. S/he opens the mouth wide, showing the throat, and keeps gasping. S/he will likely die soon.
For 32 days unable to eat satisfactorily, what kind of 32 days did this chick spend, with what kinds of feelings?
Mei and her mates gain weight every day at an incredible rate. It seems difficult to run with the heavy bodies anymore.
Many broilers have bad legs. They often sit on the ground because walking is so painful. As a result, chickens with poor legs spend a lot of time in contact with the ground soiled with manure, and their bodies become dirty. Mei’s legs are not so bad, but her white feathers have gradually become dirty and dyed in the color of feces.
The poultry shack is already overcrowded. There is no space to run around. Overcrowding accelerates the soiling of the ground.
Like a dog sitting, a chick sitting with their hips on the floor could no longer stand up. Even if s/he tries to stand up with momentum, s/he can’t lift the hip. When a person lifts her to the water dispenser, the chick desperately continues to drink water. S/he was for a long time unable to drink water. Normally such care is not given. The chicks who can’t stand are just dying without being noticed by anyone, suffering from thirst.
There are chicks who are grooming their feathers. Like humans, chicks have a desire to clean their bodies. Scooping oil with the beak from the uropygial glands that exist behind the back of birds, they groom the feathers. Even if they are on the ground full of feces, their desire to be clean is no different from us. However, no matter how many times they try to groom their feathers, the chicks who live on the feces gradually get dirty.
5 weeks have passed since Mei was born.
They’re gaining weight at a rapid pace. Chickens other than the broiler breeds (Boris brown, Julia) weigh about 370g at this age. Selective breeding with an emphasis on fast growth has been very successful.
But what about those who are fattened?
In bone growth, cartilage, which is the outer frame, forms first, and after “bone” forms within it, the cartilage cells in the outer frame die. However, in the case of chicks who grow rapidly, the cartilage may undergo abnormality and a good outer frame may not form, resulting in bone deformation.
Around Mei are chicks with such symptoms. As if they’re just enduring the pain, they don’t want to walk much.
As Mei and her mates gain weight, the poultry shack becomes overcrowded.
Every morning and evening, people enter the shack and collect carcasses. During this process, Mei and her mates are scared of people and desperately try to escape, but there is not much space to escape. The shack is nearly 100m long, and in some places it is so crowded that there is no space to step. It’s so crowded that I don’t even know how they go to eat. As if it’s difficult to even sit, there are chicks who keep standing. This is a harsh place for the chicks.
There are still two weeks before delivery, and by that time they should be 1 kg heavier than they are now. How crowded will it be?
There are almost no place to bathe in the sand anymore. In some places, the ground is so mushy from leaks from the water pipe that the legs of the chicks almost get buried. The chicks who have no choice but to live in the surrounding area have dirty bellies, legs, and hips.
Weak chicks are often dirtier than other chicks. They can’t walk and crouch on the unsanitary ground with feces.
Chicks with impaired feet often have inflamed soles. It hurts when they walk, so they keep their feet on the ground full of feces without moving as much as possible.
Mei’s belly is dirty and the soles of her feet are a little inflamed. She doesn’t want to walk too much except to eat food, and more and more stays still on the dirty ground.
Mei’s weight has already exceeded 2 kg. She has a heavy body and the soles of her feet hurt, so she is having a hard time. Still, she can’t help eating because of her strange appetite. She eats, stays still, and just repeats that.
A chick looking up in front of the feed plate as if wanting to eat. S/he can’t reach.
The back half of the body is paralyzed and can’t move the legs as s/he wants. S/he can’t reach even if s/he stretches the neck. S/he uses the wings to move. S/he moves with the momentum of flapping the wings. Even if s/he pushes on the leg joints to stand up, s/he soon falls back. S/he keeps repeating that kind of thing and gets tired. S/he can’t eat or drink anything. Looking up, s/he wonders what s/he could do, but s/he can’t do anything anymore. S/he won’t heal anymore.
Fortunately, when such a chick is lifted to the food by a compassionate employee, s/he desperately starts eating as if s/he had been waiting. S/he hadn’t eaten for a long time, so s/he was very hungry. Broiler breeds that have been bred to rapidly gain weight for chicken meat have a strong desire to eat.
The ground is getting dirtier and dirtier. There may be better places if one looks for somewhere else in the large poultry shack. But Mei and others don’t move too far. They want to be in a place where there are chicks they know. And even if she want to go far away, Mei didn’t want to move much anymore. It’s hard to walk in the crammed flock of chicks, or to carry her own heavy body.
Occasionally there are chicks who are crying silently. It’s a respiratory disorder. They stay sitting on the ground and breathe repeatedly, as if they are suffocating and just barely breathing.
In the poultry house, the individuality of each bird does not matter. If one is weak and dies, s/he will be taken out, and if one has no chance of growth, s/he will be killed. Not treated as irreplaceable precious lives, Mei and her mates are managed in a “flock”.
But no matter how humans treat them, each one has its own personality, and Mei has some things she likes and doesn’t like. Mei has her special friends, and other chicks have their special friends.
In the olden days, the idea that animals have emotions and senses was long denied. But now everyone should know that animals are sensitive creatures. But here, Mei and her mates are still treated like “machines” to produce meat. And each one is struggling from that treatment. It’s not Mei’s fault to be treated like that. It’s because of the system of human society, because of human desires.
10 more days till getting slaughtered. Mei and her mates don’t know that.
In 10 days, they will weigh around 3kg. It’s already too overcrowded, but how overcrowded would it be at that time?
When people enter the poultry house, Mei and others are startled and run away. But other than that, they began to spend time with almost no movement. With their own weight too heavy, they seem to be just barely surviving every day. The soles of Mei’s feet, which kept touching the dirty ground, are inflamed. Inflammation causes pain to Mei, which may be the reason she doesn’t want to walk much anymore.
Mei doesn’t give up living, even if her body gets worse and worse. Someday it might get easier to breathe, someday the pain may go away, someday there may be something fun; that’s how they keep enduring. The desire to live better is no different from humans.
Why only so much pain, why is it so crammed, why can’t I bathe in the sand, why can’t Mei peck anything to even play? …They do not know. They just keep enduring.
The chick who gets startled and runs away every time a person enters the poultry shack breathes heavily just from walking a little. Among the chicks there were those with red inflammation not only on the soles of their feet, but also around their featherless bellies that touch the ground when they sat down.
If chicks other than those who can’t get up from being on their side and those who are small and not energetic are happier, that’s no longer the case. All the chicks were struggling, holding up their weight on the dirty ground.
6 weeks since Mei was born. Her weight is 2430g. If she were of species not selectively bred to gain weight rapidly, she’d weigh 460g at 6 weeks. In other words, she grew rapidly to more than five times the normal size.
At this age, broiler species that has grown beyond their innate physiological functions begins to walk with their legs open. The fatter they get, the more profitable for the poultry farmer, but the more painful it is for Mei and her mates.
Skeletal disorders are not the only harmful effects of selective breeding.
There are chicks in the shack who suddenly roll about in pain. Such chicks flap their wings, turn over and struggle, stretching their necks, gasping, screaming, and sometimes even end up dying.
It’s now less than a week before “delivery” when Mei and her mates will be slaughtered.
As their weight grew, it seems that the number of chicks with bad legs has increased. They are already 2.5 kg. The ancestors of chickens are said to be red junglefowl, but even adults weigh less than 1 kg. Even compared to domesticated “poultry” other than broilers, they have abnormal weight.
The ground has hardened, with dust mixed with greasy powder and feces residue fluttering, and with the weight of their own bodies and the pain in the soles of their feet, Mei and her mates are enduring without knowing what will happen in the future.
It’s hard to spend even an hour in such a crowded place. But the chicks have to put up with it here for another 6 days. The situation inside the poultry shack will get worse, but not better: it’s becoming more and more crowded, the ground getting dirtier with feces, and Mei’s body also getting dirtier. The inflammation of the soles of the feet, which support the heavy body, is becoming even worse.
Filled with dust and ammonia, the view that Mei sees is the same no matter where she goes. There is no escape. For the chicks, living means passing the time of endurance. But no one outside the walls cares that Mei and her mates keep enduring so much and is yet still alive.
The chicks have only 2 choices.
Either suffer and die in the poultry shack, or survive and be killed for food. Either way, they are not allowed to live for more than 50 days. Death in the poultry shack, due to terrible suffering such as difficulty breathing, leg problems, inflammation, pain, hunger, and thirst, is disastrous, but surviving and getting slaughtered is not easy, either.
For example, the abnormal overcrowding. They are barely getting by holding up their excessive body weight. Even if they put up with their own dirty bodies unable to sandbathe and survive for 50 days, there’s a rough “bird catching” process ahead of them. While tens of thousands of chicks are being caught and caged, they are exposed to unprecedented horror and violent treatment. Then, in cages that are too small to stand up in, the truck will shake and carry Mei and her mates to the slaughterhouse, even if some chicks are hurt by the rough bird-catching process and dying bleeding from destroyed femurs. At the slaughterhouse they get hung upside down, and there are even slaughterhouses that suddenly cut their necks while they’re conscious. There are even chicks who get dunked in boiling water alive.
After all, it’s hell no matter which fate awaits them. Some people say it can’t be helped because they are broilers born to become “chicken”, but there’s no way Mei would accept that.
Chicks packed in like packed sushi. Only concerned about the productivity of trying to produce “chicken” from as many chicks as possible, the more overcrowded the more successful in today’s Japanese poultry farming. Before even animal welfare, there is not even consideration that one should consider at minimum as humans.
Chickens that have been bred to gain weight will continue to eat no matter how fat they are, and will want to eat no matter how cramped they get with each other’s bodies. The living chicks squeezed between the other chicks to go eat. They ate and ate continuously, and gained more and more weight and suffered more.
The litter that has never been replaced becomes full of feces, and the feathers of the chicks become dirty, but there’s no problem if the parts that do not become “chicken meat” get dirty. Feet with foot pad dermatitis (FPD) are used for soup stock, but no one cares about chicks’ pain because they can be put on the market normally even if they are inflamed.
However, the traces of inflammation left on the feet are traces of the suffering of the chicks. The chicks are “sensitive creatures”. However, they are treated as “things” and are killed as children without being cared for even once.
Weight: 2800 g
3 more days till delivery (slaughter). Chicks have already been fattened to the limit.
Mei doesn’t have obvious leg problems. They are not broken or twisted, nor is she unable to stand. She can walk, too. However, even if there are no obvious obstacles, she walks with open legs just barely holding up their weight. And after walking a little, she takes big breaths and sits down. Every chick is like that.
This may be “normal” for the broiler. However, it is clearly abnormal compared to other chickens. It’s also biologically abnormal.
The beak is important for chicks to play the role of a hand, but so are the feet. They even stand on one leg to remove foreign substances on the face, or to regulate body temperatures. However, some chicks have gained too much weight and cannot stand on one leg. Birds scoop oil from the uropygial glands on their backs with the beak, and groom their feathers. However, the body has grown so large they can barely reach the uropygial gland. Let alone grooming, their bodies have grown so heavy that they seem to be just barely getting by living every day.
It should be pointed out that this is the common “chicken”. Almost 100% of the “chicken” sold at domestic supermarkets is the rapidly growing species like Mei and others, with breeding methods like for Mei and others.
Weight: 2881 g
2 more days till delivery (slaughter). The inside of the poultry shack is so crowded that it looks like white sea. Every day people come in and take out the carcasses, but the carcasses are buried among the chicks and difficult to remove. Until slaughter, there are chicks who must live beside dead bodies. The desire to live in a clean place must be the same for the chicks as it is for us. However, it was already too crowded here to search around for a place that’s not damp from water leak or not near carcasses. They gained so much weight that even walking normally makes them short of breath. They just endure without moving. So overcrowded, dirty air mixed with ammonia and dust, dermatitis on the soles of their feet and joints, crushed by their own weight, feces-filled ground, being afraid of the people who come into the flock daily, there’s nothing fun, no distractions. We know what will happen to them soon, but they don’t know. If they could predict their future, they would probably try to escape from here. They would probably try to protect themselves. When a person enters the flock and roughly pushes the chicks away with their legs, there are chicks who bite on the legs. They desperately try to resist. But that’s about all that the chicks can do. They have no words to speak to us, and they themselves cannot do anything about this destiny.
Less than 24 hours till the chicks get killed.
The chicks have no options. They get out of this shack either as dead bodies, or to become meat.
Like us, each chick has his/her own personality. When a person enters the poultry house, some chicks hide away from the person, while others poke at the person with the beak to protect themselves. Some chicks are cautious, others are bold. Each bird has a different voice. The personality is even more different. But poultry farmers aren’t interested in that. Their interest is how fat they are and how many percent is their delivery rate. The delivery rate is the number of chicks shipped relative to the number of chicks entering, that is, how many chicks survive until slaughter. Although each chick is full of irreplaceable individuality, they are managed by lot rather than individually. That is the poultry industry.
No matter how humans treat the chicks, each chick has sensitivity and suffers with their whole body. Some chicks suffer from death, some suffer from painful foot inflammation, and some suffer from the fear and pain from being flipped over and unable to get up. In addition, some chicks suffer from nightmares of living near rotting carcasses, and some chicks suffer from the feeling of loss of companionship.
There is not a single happy chick in this poultry shack.
The feed was stopped. Something is different. The chicks had an uneasy night.
Midnight. A lot of people came in and started catching the chicks. Screams everywhere. Chickens use about 30 different vocalizations in a complex way to express their feelings and talk with their peers, including panic, fear, and asking for help. Mei desperately tried to escape after hearing the horror of the other chicks, but she didn’t know where to escape in the dark shack. She doesn’t even know the exit. There is no place to hide. To escape from this commotion, Mei snuggled against the wall in the corner and waited for the horror to go away. The screams of the other chicks, the footsteps of people, and the rattling noise when crates hit each other. The crate was dropped, and Mei was scared just by the sound without seeing it. Holding her breath. But people are approaching. She can’t escape anymore.
Mei was lifted with one wing. Mei screamed as her 3-kg weight was on one of her wings. She was shoved into a tight basket, screaming loudly at the pain she experienced for the first time.
Then she was put on the truck. Beyond the grid was the outside scenery that Mei saw for the first time. The world she sees for the first time. But for Mei, who had been trapped in the poultry shack for a long time, the noise of the road and the sound of the truck were just horrifying. The crate in which Mei is trapped is tiny and she cannot stand up. Some of the companions who were put in the crate together were upside down and could not get up. Another chick had lost his/her leg from the bird catching procedure. Maybe it got sandwiched between the crate and the rail carrying the crate?
The truck parked by a large building. They can hear chicks screaming from inside the building. Mei and others understand the meaning. “Help!” “Scary!” The chicks were asking for help. What will happen? Anxiety and fear continued forever. They wanted to hide somewhere. But there was no place to hide. There is no place in the world where broiler chicks can stay safe.
The crates were unloaded from the truck and carried on a conveyor belt one after another. After a while, the lid of Mei’s crate opened, and Mei was grabbed by her legs. Suspended upside down, Mei cried. All the chicks were crying. When she was hung upside down, the swollen organs got compressed and it was painful, and she tried to get up by flapping her wings, but she couldn’t do anything anymore.
She kept struggling for half a minute. And Mei was killed.