Chickens are subject to some of the worst treatment on factory farms. Despite the fact that research has shown that chickens are highly intelligent, incredibly emotional, and affectionate, they are treated as nothing but commodities. From the moment they are born, chicks are separated into two groups: “layers” and “broilers,” both groups destined for a life where they will suffer the physical consequences of genetic manipulation. Layers, bred to lay eggs, have been dramatically altered so that they can lay 250 eggs per year, a figure that used to be as low as two dozen per year for their ancestors. Broiler chickens, on the other hand, have been bred to produce meat, breast meat specifically, at an incredibly fast pace. Broiler chickens today are almost double the size of a chicken from 60 years ago, and they reach their fully grown size in more than half of the time. Most chickens cannot even stand by the time they reach slaughter because their legs cannot support their own weight.

Just as the egg industry disposes of male chicks without a second thought, sometimes broiler chicks are seen as “unfit” by the meat industry and simply tossed in the trash can. While many of these disposed chicks never see a ray of sunlight, some chicks are lucky enough to be discovered in the receptacles and saved. This was the case for Alex, a rescued chick who now resides at Santuario Igualdad Interespecie. According to the sanctuary, Alex is an affectionate girl who loves to hang with her two best friends, get rubbed down by sanctuary workers, and share food with her fellow birdies.

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Unfortunately, although Alex may be far away from the grim factory farm she was born in, due to her genetics and the drugs she was given in her former life, she is dealing with the physical repercussions of their cruelty. This sweet girl has grown a great deal since her arrival at farm sanctuary and according to the sanctuary, her fragile legs are paying for it.

Look at how much she has grown in just two months! 

Broiler Chick

 

Alex is a living example of the cruelty present in the current food system. The way her body was manipulated and the way she was discarded truly highlights how little this industry cares about the well-being of animals and the lengths that they will go to to make a profit. Thankfully, since Alex is in the safe hands of the folks at Santuario, she is being helped as much as possible and is leading as good of a life as she can, given the circumstances. Hopefully, one day, no chicken will have to suffer like she has.

Image source: Santuario Igualdad Interespecie/Facebook