Broiler Breeder Rescue
November 12, 2006 Victoria, Australia

In early November the ALV rescue team conducted an investigation and rescue at a broiler breeder shed outside of Melbourne. Several birds were rescued and taken to loving homes. The following article by ALV president Patty Mark describes the lives of torment suffered by broiler breeders.

You are looking inside a chicken breeding factory shed...

Photo: Noah Hannibal (November 12, 2006)

There are 22,000 hens and roosters packed tightly in this dimly lit shed. They are all beautiful young birds just at the point of sexual maturity but they will remain confined and overcrowded in this one place for the rest of their lives - one year. The hens are repeatedly mounted daily by the roosters, many get bleeding backs. The birds are only fed every other day or else they’d gain so much weight they wouldn’t be able to walk, much less perform multiple matings on a daily basis. The hens are never allowed to brood their eggs or set eyes on their babies - their eggs are whisked away to industrial hatcheries upon laying and once their chicks are ‘hatched’ they are literally dumped (40,000 per shed) as day old birds onto a litter floor for their shortened life span of eight weeks, instead of ten years. In this short time, due to selective breeding, routine antibiotics and high protein feed they are already the weight of an adult chicken, however many are so crippled and weakened by the unnatural weight gain they can hardly walk.

The birds in this photo are the parents of today's KFC, Red Rooster, Macca's, Coles and Safeway chicken specials. The young bodies of their offspring are served twisted, wrapped, fried, barbecued, popcorned, baked and in all shapes and sizes from nuggets, breasts, legs, wings or mince. We have endless varieties of birds' bodyparts at our fingertips, but for the chickens themselves, 51 billion of them killed globally every year, there is only pain and suffering.

Some breeders further stress and torment these captive birds by using ‘spiking’ in their production routine. Spiking is the practice of killing all the roosters in the shed after 50 weeks of age and replacing them with younger, more agile, potent and aggressive males to maximise the hen’s declining egg production levels. The totally degraded and worn out hens are then killed after 15 weeks of the young roosters having their way with them ad infinitum.

A year ago ALV received an anonymous appeal for help against spiking, the email explained, “the method they use to kill the huge roosters is very cruel as I have seen it first hand. They lay the rooster on the floor and put a broom handle across his neck and then stand either side with their feet on the broom handle and then pull the rooster by the legs until his neck breaks...can you please stop them...”