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Super Bowl sees Americans eat 1.4 billion wings: ‘No meat animal suffers more than chickens’

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Chickens are genetically manipulated to grow so fast that they're slaughtered at only 45 days. The rapid growth and unnatural size cause birds to experience painful leg deformities and heart attacks.

SHANE CROUCHER: ‘After a weekend in which Super Bowl fans devoured a record-breaking amount of chicken wings, according to figures from the poultry industry, animal welfare campaigners pointed to misery lurking behind one of America’s most popular snacks. According to the National Chicken Council, a trade association that represents the producers of 95 percent of the chicken that land on American tables, 1.4 billion wings were consumed during the Super Bowl LIV weekend. That represented an increase of 29 million chicken wings from the previous year, the council said, a 2 percent rise. By its calculations, the wings eaten this year could circle the circumference of the Earth three times, or provide 342 wings to every attendee of the Super Bowl since 1967…

“No animal in the meat industry suffers more than chickens,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, a leading animal welfare campaign group, told Newsweek. “Virtually all chickens have been genetically manipulated to grow so fast and so obese that they’re at slaughter weight at only 45 days. It’s a sad reality that chicken meat comes from very young chickens who are about six weeks of age. The rapid growth speed and unnatural size also cause birds to experience painful leg deformities and even heart attacks because their hearts aren’t strong enough to pump blood throughout their enormous bodies.”

Kara Shannon, senior manager of the animal welfare department at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), told Newsweek that the U.S. “raises and slaughters almost ten times more birds than any other type of animal.” She cited recent USDA data showing that just over 9.1 billion chickens are slaughtered for consumption annually, and hundreds of millions of those were for wings eaten during Super Bowl weekend. “By sheer number, these are the farm animals most urgently in need of protection,” Shannon said. “Most of those chickens are raised on factory farms, with tens of thousands of birds crowded in huge sheds, each about half the size of a football field”.

Shannon said broiler chicken breeds were selected to grow as quickly as possible to be slaughtered at around six weeks old. This rapid growth, particularly of the disproportionately large breasts, puts their bodies under a lot of strain and “essentially cripples birds.” “Due to their tremendous and disproportionate size, broilers suffer from heart and lung problems, causing heart failure in many birds whose hearts simply can’t keep up with the fast growth, and joint and leg weakness, leaving many birds barely able to walk during their final days,” Shannon told Newsweek. “While broiler chickens may not be raised in battery cages like laying hens, their bodies are their own cage, painfully restricting their movement and greatly reducing their quality of life”.’  SOURCE…

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