On May 15th I stumbled upon a live poultry market in Chicago while on a bike ride. And I decided to have a look. I posed as someone interested in having a business like theirs and asked if I could take some photos. They agreed. I then just let the video roll. What I found was even worse than I would have imagined. Chickens have evolved from their tropical forest home to a manmade hell on earth that manifests itself in all forms of commercial poultry operations — from the small, storefront shops like this one to the industrial scale farms. Here are some of my key findings:
- Chickens crowded into filthy, feces-caked cages on top of each other. Those on the bottom were sickly and immobile.
- Other chickens visibly terrified, depressed, sick and suffering, as well as vocalizing in distress
- Birds jammed through kill cones who had their necks cut and were being bled, some still thrashing and screaming when I arrived
- Blood, feces and feathers splattered all over the walls and floors. One infant chicken drinking the dirty water off the kill floor.
- “Frankenbirds” (the same you see in factory farms) — just weeks old, still chirping, yet fattened up into adult bodies, awaiting slaughter
Live poultry markets like this one are in our backyards and neighborhoods. They are marketed as the “buy local,” “sustainable,” “free range,” “pasture-raised” and “organic” alternatives to factory farming. And they all subject the birds to the same miserable existence and violent death.
Learn more at our Chicken Facts page.