The Ross 308, a popular broiler, is one of the most successful products in history and has sold tens of billions around the world just in the last decade.

Source: Animal Equality UK/Youtube

Ross 308 is a chicken breed that is owned by the global breeding firm, Aviagen. They have been bred to reach their ‘kill weight’ in only 35 days, meaning they only live about a month before they are slaughtered. This means they grow three times faster than previous breeds from the 1950s.

The chickens have been bred to grow so fast that they have low production costs, and consumers can get them for insanely low prices. However, animal rights groups argue that the low-priced meat is being paid for by the chickens.

These poor animals grow so unnaturally fast that their bodies can’t keep up. These chickens are often called “Frankenchickens” due to their unnatural growth rate, which causes them to suffer a wide range of health problems, including heart attacks, lameness, white striping, and green muscle disease.

Research has shown that fast-breeding chickens have a high mortality rate, lameness, and muscle disease. The birds are often unable to walk or stand up straight. Fast breeding and a small genetic diversity lead to chicken breeds that are inevitably prone to diseases, which the industry disregards as “production diseases.” The deformities and health problems are “treated” by pumping the birds with high doses of antibiotics.

Source: World Animal Protection UK/Youtube

The poultry industry has said that using slower-growing breeds could increase the price of chicken by more than 30 percent, which they say, consumers should not have to face amid the cost of living crisis.

On the bright side, there are now 325 retailers and firms in the United Kingdom and Europe that have signed for the Better Chicken Commitment, which calls to phase out fast-growing breeds. Under the commitment, companies are to adopt slower-growing breeds by 2026. However, many major supermarkets in the UK have not signed the commitment yet, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda.

Animal welfare campaigners have argued that poultry has been produced too cheaply and farmers need to be paid more to ensure better conditions for the chickens.

“It’s very sad that these animals’ lives have become worth so little. We call them Frankenchickens. The science is clear that fast-growing chickens like the Ross 308 are doomed by their genetics. These have been engineered to grow so incredibly fast, and their bodies just cannot handle it,” Connor Jackson, chief executive of the animal welfare group Open Cages, told The Guardian.

Open Cages has conducted many undercover investigations at broiler farms and shown the horrible conditions that these birds are subject to.

Those who eat chicken are willingly supporting the heinous poultry industry and are often unaware of how the “food” they consume is being produced. We need to bring attention to these realities and stop the terrifying animal abuse in factory farming. Sign this petition to help stop abuse in the poultry industry.

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