Chickens, turkeys and ducks
Buy higher welfare certified or pasture raised
If you eat chicken, buy chicken certified by Animal Welfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership, or Certified Humane. If these are not available, buy organic or free-range chicken.
If you are looking for the system with the highest welfare potential, you should buy pasture raised. While it is more expensive, animals raised in this system will have access to the outdoors and slower growing breeds will be used that are suited for pasture.
Cheap chickens are bred to grow so fast that their bones, heart and lungs often can’t keep up, causing crippling lameness or heart failure. They don’t have access to the outdoors and big chicken farms cram up to 30,000 birds into one shed. Turkeys also suffer from lameness and are kept in crowded sheds.
95% of all factory farmed animals raised each year in the United States are meat chickens. In terms of numbers, no other farm animal is more severely affected by factory farming than broiler chickens.
Ducks that aren’t pasture raised are unlikely to have been given any water (other than drinking water) to dip their heads into. This is essential for a duck’s well-being.
Look for the Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane or 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program levels 3,4,5 or 5+ (chickens only) which gives birds a better quality of life than the standard poultry.
Remember – when you’re eating out ask if the chicken on your plate or in your sandwich is from a higher welfare system.
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Pastured Poultry Week
A celebration of humane and sustainable pasture raised chicken
About chickens farmed for meat
Chickens farmed for meat are called broiler chickens.
Welfare issues for meat chickens
Approximately 70 percent of chickens raised for meat globally are raised in intensive farming systems.
Higher welfare for meat chickens
There are systems that offer significantly higher welfare for meat chickens (also called broilers).
Globally, more than 650 million turkeys per year are raised for meat. More than a third of them are raised in the US.