Ethical Dilemmas Of Factory Farming

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Chickens are commonly regarded as the world’s most abused animal. Due to widespread consumption, around 8.6 billion chickens are slaughtered annually, which translates to roughly 300 chickens per second (Runkle, 2017, p.17). Factory farming is the method in which chickens are slaughtered for mass processing. For decades, chicken has been the protein of choice for many families, due to clever advertising. For example, in a 1929 presidential campaign, the Republican candidate promised “‘a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage’” (Runkle, 2017, p.107). Chickens are easy to farm: they do not require as much supervision as cows or pigs, and they don’t occupy much space. As refrigeration technology improved and people could store meat for…show more content…
Chickens in these situations spend the clear majority of their lives confined in metal cages (Sorenson, 2010, p.42). “Barley able to move, they cannot exercise, and constant egg production drains calcium; osteoporosis is widespread” (Sorenson, 2010, p.42). Weakened, crowded, and overworked, hens are considered done egg production at the age of six weeks: after this, they are brutally killed through a variety of methods including bulldozing, electrocution and beating (Sorenson, 2010, p.44). Chickens raised for meat, called broiler chickens, are genetically modified to be unnaturally enormous in size, as well as having a dramatically shortened lifespan to about 7 weeks (Sorenson, 2010, p. 45). Another aspect of brutality towards chickens is males: since they do not produce eggs and are not used for meat, roosters are brutally killed largely via suffocation: “thrown into plastic bags and crushed or suffocated” (Mason & Finelli, 2014, p.107). Again, being in such close quarters causes stress for the chickens, as they have no way to stretch or move. This causes agitated animals, resulting in fights: instead of allowing more space, farmers simply de-beak and declaw the hens in an incredibly painful manner to prevent them from injuring one another (Sorenson, 1999,…show more content…
However, it is still possible to provide the public with reasonably priced chicken while keeping the public satisfied. This can be accomplished via government funding to encourage healthy farming and increased consumer awareness. Alternatively, the future could point towards non-meat protein products, including those made in a laboratory from animal cells. In fact, a 1931 quote from Winston Churchill states, “‘Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken to eat the breast or wing by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium” (Runkle, 2017, p.
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