Factory farms have increasingly come under fire for their cruel treatment of animals. In early July, Mercy For Animals, a Chicago-based animal advocacy non-profit, obtained a video of employees at a contract farm for Tyson Foods severely mistreating chickens and baby birds being raised for mass distribution. Just what happens to the food we eat before we eat it, and whose responsibility is it to make sure that animals raised for slaughter do not endure unnecessary hardship?
WhoWhatWhy introduction by Lisette Cheresson
Fried. Sauteed. Baked. These are the words typically used to describe chickens raised for mass consumption—not Clubbed, Kicked, and Thrown. But a recent video released by the animal advocacy nonprofit Mercy for Animals shows workers at a Tyson Foods contract farm subjecting the chickens they’re raising to horrific conditions that would make even a Guantanamo guard blanch.
Some birds were left to die without food or water; others suffered debilitating injuries while in transit. Still others were genetically engineered to grow in ways that their bodies couldn’t sustain—sometimes with breasts up to eight times the normal weight, causing heart attacks and lung failure. The fact that hundreds of thousands were crammed into dark, dirty cages choking on ammonia fumes seems almost benign when compared with the rest of the treatment.
Does Tyson Foods have a responsibility to ensure that its chickens are raised under humane conditions? And should contract farms meet certain standards before major food corporations cut deals with them?
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO IS GRAPHIC AND MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME VIEWERS.