We took Rai 3 Tv to two intensive chicken farms

© Essere Animali


We took Rai 3 Tv to two intensive chicken farms

Maria Mancuso
Web content editor

A few days after the launch of the international campaign against Lidl, a leading retailer, last night a programme was broadcast on #Cartabianca that shows the reality of intensive chicken farms.

Our investigative team accompanied Chiara Carbone, a journalist from #Cartabianca, the in-depth programme headed by Bianca Berlinguer on Rai 3, to two intensive chicken farms in Lombardy. Once again, this revealed the terrible living conditions of these animals.

What the programme reveals about chicken farms

On the first farm, there were approximately 27,000 chicks of 6-8 days old. Francesco Ceccarelli, our head of investigations, explains that after 35-40 days they will be ready for slaughter. The animals already present clear mobility issues because of the genetic selection that pushes them to grow at a rate that their body cannot sustain. The mortality rate, as often happens in these places, is very high: although they are only chicks there are already dozens of corpses. Every two or three metres, there is a dead or dying chick.

On the second farm — a few kilometres away — you can see chickens of about 40 days old, i.e. very close to slaughter. Once again these animals have physical problems, including painful injuries and deformities. Many chickens have their legs spread wide apart because their skeleton cannot support their now disproportionately large body. Others have developed lameness so they cannot move or walk, or only manage to do so with extreme effort. Others have died, probably from respiratory and/or cardiovascular problems.

Almost all of them have burns on the chest due to prolonged contact with the litter, which is full of ammonia due to the presence of droppings. The camera also shows a corpse in a state of decomposition and a chicken being pecked by others because the stress they are experiencing pushes them to acts of cannibalism. Finally, the images show the cold room of the farm, where dozens and dozens of prematurely deceased chickens are stacked. “Last year,” explains Francesco Ceccarelli, “over 500 million chickens were slaughtered in Italy. This farm might be operating in line with the regulations, but the animal welfare is a different matter.”

A short-term solution exists

In the ensuing debate, science populariser and journalist Mario Tozzi draws attention to ethical and environmental issues relating to factory farming, as well as those affecting human health. Finally, he says that in the future “we will regard these images as a mistake of the past”. In the studio, some of the participants agree with him.

The question posed by Bianca Berlinguer is therefore: should these farming models be rethought? According to the journalist Pietro Senaldi (co-editor of the Libero newspaper), this will not be possible in the short term given the huge demand for meat. Yet the short-term solution already exists and is indicated in the European Chicken Commitment, a commitment that contains a series of requirements for improving the conditions of “broilers” (chickens raised for meat) on factory farms. We asked Lidl to commit to signing it, but they have not yet done so. Help us ask Lidl to ensure higher standards for chickens raised by their suppliers. Sign the petition.

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