End Animal Slaughter contributor DEBBIE NELSON lends her voice to the voiceless.
In the Broiler Barn
Can you please help me? I am living in a filthy shed with thousands of others. I’m only 42 days old but my body is growing so fast I can hardly stand up. There is no room to walk, no room to spread my wings. My breast is so big I keep falling on my face. I can feel my heartbeat faltering. That’s because I have a chick’s heart in a grown body.
I can’t breathe. The smell in here is so bad. I’m standing in my own shit. A lot of my friends can’t walk. Some have broken legs. Their legs can’t hold the weight of their huge bodies. Some are lying on the floor, already dead.
It’s so dark in here. OH NO THE DOORS ARE OPENING! They’re pulling in trucks! The fork lifts are bringing in the crates. We run, peeping at the top of our lungs but we can’t escape. The men are grabbing us six at a time by our legs and throwing us in crates. Oh, the pain! I think my wing is broken. They are so rough with us, but there’s nothing we can do. We are trapped. They are loading us on to a big truck.
At the Hatchery
I’m male and the chick next to me is female. We are two of the tens of thousands who have just hatched out of our eggs. The humans dropped us in a box, and then onto a moving lane. We are little yellow balls of fluff, alert and curious, and looking around us. The humans are picking us up and looking at our feathers. Because mine are different from my hatch mate she and I are sent down different metal tubes. I get the tube of death! I’m falling into a grinding machine. I try to jump but the humans pick me up and throw me back. I scream but my mother cannot hear me. I have never met her so how can she save me? What have I done to deserve this fate? There are only seconds left. I’m looking down into the grinder. I can see the ground up chicks that went before. I’m in.
I was sent down the female tube. A human hand grabbed me, put me in a sharp machine and cut off my beak. The pain was unbearable. The chick who went before me died of shock! Then the humans stuck a needle in me. I don’t know why. Are they really going to cut off my toes? They are! I don’t think I can stand the agony. Now they are putting me into a crate and loading me onto a truck. I don’t know where I am going. I need my mother! Why don’t I have a mother? I want to hide under her wing.
At the egg farm
I’m being sent to the egg farm. They are roughly unloading me. I see where I’m supposed to live until I’m old enough to lay eggs. When I can lay eggs the humans will stuff me in a small metal cage with five or six other hens. We can’t stretch our wings. We must stand or crouch on hard wires which cut our feet. Our job is to lay eggs. I slave away for the humans until I can’t anymore.
Three years have gone by, and I am spent. I have no feathers left, and my body is bruised and bleeding from rubbing against metal, and my cellmates pecking me. I am taken from the cage put into another crate to be transported once again. I sense I’m going to a terrible place.
In The House of Death
I have arrived after a long drive to a place that sounds and smells like death and misery. I have to wait 6 hours, anxious and in pain, before anything starts to happen. Then some men arrive, and I am seized out of my transport crate. I see one of my kind thrown up into the shackles like a ball. Another one of us has their head torn off by the shackler. The humans are laughing.
I am turned upside down, held by my feet and hung up on shackles. I am fully aware of my dire circumstances. Now I’m moving down to a tub of water. My head is going into the water. The water feels alive with negative energy. Is this how I’m going to die? I lift my head up at the last minute. My brain was not electrocuted, and I’m fully conscious. Next I’m dragged over a sharp device which cuts my throat. I struggle, and it’s not a clean cut. I’m still conscious. In pain, but conscious. Next I’m dropped head first into scalding water. The searing pain overtakes my being, and then, nothing. Finally it’s all over.
It doesn’t matter if we are bred for meat or to lay eggs. It doesn’t matter if the farm is labelled humane or organic we all come from the same place, and we all end up in the same place. We all have to suffer traveling many miles without food or water and with no protection from the weather. Many of us are seriously hurt from the rough handling we experienced upon loading. Some of us are dead on arrival.
The suffering is endless. Must this continue? It doesn’t have to. You, the
consumer, can stop this. Please do not buy any chicken products.