In the last 50 years, there has been a huge transition away from small family farms to large industrial complexes, where chickens are treated as mere meat- and egg-producing machines. And the majority of chickens now live indoors, in tiny wire cages or overly cramped sheds.
In a recent article, Al Jazeera highlights the horrific lives of male chickens bred and killed on today’s factory farms.
“Males of the egg-laying breeds are of little value, as only a few roosters are required for reproduction. A day after they’re hatched, chicks are sexed (their gender determined), with the unfortunate males heading straight to the grinder for use as animal feed.”
In the United States, this equates to several hundred million chicks killed every year.
While the article suggests that improvements in technology could limit the number of male births, it remains that the best thing we can do to protect chickens right now is simply to not eat them or their eggs.