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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: SAFE NZ

New Zealand raises over 120 million chickens for meat every year who have been selectively bred for rapid growth. They’re still babies when they’re slaughtered at six weeks of age. The combination of rapid growth and dirty, overcrowded farming conditions puts these birds at risk of suffering from debilitating and painful health problems.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Jessica Chambers said the Government must intervene.
“This is as bad as it gets for farmed animals,” said Chambers. “Chicken farming practices are inconsistent with the Animal Welfare Act and the Government has to do something about it. It’s simply wrong to put these animals at such high risk of pain and suffering during their short lives.”
In 2011, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) raised concerns that chicken farming practices risked creating birds that spent part of their short lives in pain. A report published last week by the New Zealand Animal Law Association echoed these concerns.
“Not only are these farming practices a risk to animals, but they’re also a risk to human health.”
Intensive farming practices create the conditions for bacteria and viruses to spread from animals to humans. So far over two million birds have been culled worldwide on intensive poultry farms to control zoonotic diseases like avian influenza A (H5N8), also known as ‘bird flu.’ In New Zealand, Campylobacter, a bacterial disease primarily spread from poultry farms, is considered the largest food safety problem in the country.
“The Government must act to protect these animals from suffering and protect New Zealanders from preventable zoonotic disease outbreaks.”
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– Link to NAWAC’s 2011 report on the broiler chicken code of welfare. Page 9 states NAWAC’s concerns regarding selective breeding for rapid growth.
– Raw footage of chickens bred for meat in New Zealand sheds.
– Photos of chickens bred for meat in New Zealand sheds.
– Chickens farmed for their meat are typically intensively farmed inside crowded sheds where they do not have access to the outdoors, natural sunlight or fresh air. Up to 40,000 chickens may be housed in a shed.
– As the chicks grow, the living conditions within the shed deteriorate. The floor litter they live on is not cleaned until the birds are taken away to be killed, meaning a lifetime’s worth of waste from tens-of-thousands of birds accumulates. These filthy conditions cause respiratory problems, and continuous contact with soiled litter causes burns to the chickens’ breasts and legs.
– New Zealand farms the ‘Cobb’ and ‘Ross’ chicken breeds, who are selectively bred to grow explosively fast – reaching slaughter weight while they are still chicks, at 6 weeks of age.
– Rapid growth can cause chicks to suffer from a range of health issues, including heart failure and leg problems (lameness) that can lead to immobility. Chicks can become so top heavy that their legs are unable to support their body weight.
– A 2013 report by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) stated that over two million birds died each year due to health problems before they even reached slaughter weight. The same report found over half of the chickens studied were unable to walk properly and some were unable to move at all.
2021 bird flu outbreaks
– Russia has reported its first human avian influenza A (H5N8) cases. Between 3 and 11 December 2020, 101,000 of the 900,000 egg-laying hens on the affected farm died. This high mortality rate prompted an investigation. Workers who participated in a response to the outbreak contracted the virus.
– Vietnam has already culled 100,000 chickens this year to contain an avian influenza A (H5N8) outbreak.
– In January, Sweden announced plans to cull 1.3 million egg-laying hens after the H5N5 variant of bird flu was discovered at Sweden’s biggest egg producer near the town of Monsteras on January 18.
– Germany announced plans in January to cull 37,000 chickens after bird flu was found on a farm in the east of the country. Type H5N8 bird flu was confirmed on a farm in Kobrow in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
– France announced plans in January to cull 600,000 birds after the virus spread among duck flocks in the southwest of the country.
– Japan confirmed in February that new cases of avian influenza believed to be a highly pathogenic strain had been found at poultry farms in both Chiba and Miyazaki prefectures. The Chiba prefecture decided to cull all 1.15 million chickens raised at the affected farm in the town of Tako to prevent the spread of the virus.