Save a chicken, go vegan

Pasty
Pasty

I wonder if readers know which is the most killed animal in Britain? A strange question but it is one with perhaps a surprising answer. It is the humble chicken.

Most people would be hard pushed to remember a time when they saw a field full of chickens. Yet 94% of all farmed animals killed in Britain each year are chickens – 945 million last year alone. So where are they?

Factory farms, that’s where. Huge industrial units that litter the British countryside and are hidden from prying eyes. The vast majority of Britain’s chickens spend their short, pitiful six-week lives living on top of their own excreta. No wonder that food poisoning from poultry infects almost a quarter of a million Britons every year, mostly with campylobacter.

Overall meat consumption in Britain continues to decline yet chicken sales grow. You can now buy a chicken for less than a pint of beer. What kind of society do we live in where life is so cheap?

Chickens are plucky, delightful little animals with similar cognitive abilities to higher primates yet are treated as commodities, devoid of hope, fear or pain. Spend five minutes in a chicken shed and you see that they are individuals with a lust for life, as anyone will know who has rescued hens.

We don’t believe that life is cheap. We believe that it has value – and the best way to show that you care about animals is to simply not eat them. Going vegan has never been easier. Whatever you do to start that journey begins to end suffering. To find out more about Viva!’s new campaign that lifts the lid off Britain’s dirty poultry industry and for help changing your diet visit www.viva.org.uk/lifeischeep

Justin Kerswell

Viva!