Chickens are often placed at the lowest rung of the farmed animal ladder. They are perceived as stupid and not deserving a second thought. As a result, they are some of the most abused animals in factory farming facilities.

As battery hens, chickens are packed tightly in a small, dirty cage with five other birds for their entire lives – lives which may only last up to a year or two and are marked by constant pain and suffering. Hens bred for meat fair similarly but are instead packed tightly in long, low sheds with up to 20,000 other hens and bear the enormous burden of growing multiple times their normal size, causing some to become lame and suffer other painful conditions.

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Even male chicks are not left untouched by the cruelty of factory farms. Since they are deemed “useless” to the industry, they are gassed or ground up alive. Others meet their ends by being boiled alive or thrown still breathing into trash bags.

If only we’d allow chickens to be who they are, maybe more would realize that they don’t deserve this kind of cruel fate and instead deserve our kindness and respect as they are intelligent and highly sentient beings, just like our beloved cats and dogs.

As Farm Sanctuary writes, “Indeed, chickens are intelligent animals, outperforming dogs and cats on many tests of advanced cognition. As just one example, in a study by Silsoe Research Institute in England, researchers showed that chickens have the ability to make a conscious choice to delay gratification. In this study, the chickens figured out that if they refuse some food now, they will get more food later.”

What’s more, as the video here shows, chickens have the ability to show compassion to other beings – something we need to start extending to them too.

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Image source: Steve-L-Johnson / Flickr