fun Hen cartoon character with board

At the table! Disinformation is served. This is how ideologies manipulate the minds of consumers

There has long been an alleged moral superiority over omnivores of those who decide to no longer eat products of animal origin. The phenomenon is amplified by the availability of IT channels, which give everyone the opportunity to spread “information”, opinions… whose credibility, however, does not always derive from qualifications, scientific commitment or professional CVs.

Among those who use the internet there are producers of fakes who objectively have many characteristics in common with artificial intelligence which is designed to construct images and contents that are plausible and yet not true because they are created to combine what exists in a creative way and to the client’s liking.

In fact, even the producers of fakes assemble texts and images as they please, with the instrumental objective of educating and influencing with dramatic, and indeed instrumental, narratives, the less informed public and little capable of investigating or verifying.

MAC constantly tries to intercept fakes spread in the various media and we are struck by the increase in the frequency with which haters of the poultry sector create artificial, albeit plausible, initiatives and scenarios to create support for their biases which are now predictable and inexplicably pervaded by statements without scientific support.

We therefore periodically choose to select, among many, some examples of this misinformation.

Today we have chosen to comment on an article that you can also find at this link which represents a clear evidence of how the misinformation offered to the consumer is structured. This is what we could define as an example of “partial information distorted by animal rights ideology”. It is a text that is a typical example of the diffusion of partial news, almost never accompanied by the citation of the sources of origin. In the rare cases in which they are cited, the quotes are also decontextualized to aid the writer’s argument.

To facilitate precise commentary and the reader’s understanding, we report the full text below (in bold and “in quotation marks”) alternating it with our additional observations for which we made use of independent and qualified veterinarians who, for hopefully understandable reasons, prefer not be cited. You will also find a link to a document from the Italian Ministry of Health regarding the aspects of conservation and consumption of poultry meat:


Let’s start:

“What are broiler chickens and how to avoid buying them

What are broiler chickens, why we should avoid eating them, what are the consequences on the planet and on our diet. And, above all, how to recognize them and avoid them. If it is known that chicken meat is one of the most consumed in the world, perhaps not everyone knows that most of the farming it comes from is intensive. Within these farms there are the so-called broiler chickens, or meat chickens: all those chickens genetically selected with the aim of breeding them to consume their meat. And, so far, nothing particularly strange: the problem is that the broiler chicken is “forced” to grow in a way that is not at all natural. Let’s see in detail what broiler chickens are and how to avoid buying them.”


Already in this first paragraph we notice a “reductionist” approach, which sees only part of reality and distorts it. This topic involves the involvement of social, economic, ethical and nutritional aspects and should therefore be considered with a “holistic” vision to grasp all aspects of poultry production at a global level. When it is declared “It is known that chicken meat is one of the most consumed in the world” , we should first ask ourselves what are the reasons behind this extraordinary result and what benefits humanity receives from this low-cost food, available both for the populations of developing countries as well as for the weakest sections of the populations in developed countries.

Chicken costs little today precisely because it grows quickly and consumes little, even in terms of food resources, and for this reason it has a low environmental impact. Its growth is not forced at all, but due exclusively to the selection of animals, choosing those which, in a completely natural way, have greater growth and, consequently, do not waste precious food resources.

“Broiler chickens: we all eat them, but no one knows it

Everyone will have seen at least once the image of the typical white chickens with red crest and yellow skin, originating from the crossing of multiple breeds to optimize breeding, i.e. sell them at a very low price. These are broiler chickens, the most widespread type: just think that, in Italy, 98% of chickens raised are broilers. But what does it mean exactly? The broiler chicken is a chicken that grows faster than normal: it is a genetic selection implemented to obtain accelerated growth of the breast and thigh, something that causes enormous suffering to the birds. This type of breeding, populated by specimens of Gallus gallus domesticus, was created starting in the 1930s, before perfecting the breeding techniques during the 1960s: the exponential growth in demand pushed American breeders to create genetic crosses which allowed the chickens to grow very quickly, so as to satisfy the demand for meat. Over the years, these breeding techniques have gone further, even guaranteeing a 400% greater growth rate compared to chickens raised with traditional methods. A traditionally bred animal, for example, weighs 1.2 kg at 4 months of age, a maximum of 1.5 kg: the broiler chicken, in just 45-50 days of life, weighs almost 3 kg. This type of chicken, or perhaps it would be better to call them giant chicks, lives between 40 and 60 days. This involves a series of atrocious suffering for them, before reaching death, but allows us to eat chicken meat at very low prices.”


Two expressions used in these paragraphs should be underlined:

the “atrocious suffering” that would be inflicted on animals and the “rock-bottom prices” of poultry meat. In both cases we understand well how much we risk making errors of evaluation when our vision of reality is limited by ideologies.

If the person who wrote this article had researched how genetic selection is implemented, they would have understood that this is done to optimize the growth of animals, but above all and “contextually” to reduce their suffering. No animal grows normally if it is suffering.

Genetics operates simultaneously on many fronts and chooses, within the lines to be selected, the animals which not only have the best growth potential, but also have the least chance of showing problems with the skeleton, muscles, respiratory system, cardiovascular system and many other aspects related to animal health and well-being.

If only because only animals in good conditions can reproduce and thus transmit these positive characteristics to future generations.

Let us now focus on “rock-bottom prices” : it sounds offensive towards all those peoples who can feed themselves only thanks to these products and, even within the rich civilizations of developed countries, for that segment of consumers, unfortunately increasingly numerous, who with fatigue comes at the end of the month, with pensions or salaries; without forgetting the whole world of assistance – including food – to the needy, a sector in which the institutions that deal with it barely survive with serious budget problems.

The results of opinion polls demonstrate that animal rights ideology is more widespread among medium-high income groups, among people with a higher level of education and in European countries with the highest per capita income, but not everyone is lucky enough to live in these social conditions, for which the spread of misleading information, which concerns an essential and accessible source of livelihood for the weakest groups, must be contrasted with the conscious commitment which concerns a social livelihood service.


“How are broiler chickens raised? No cages, but on the other hand overcrowded sheds (consider a surface area smaller than an A4 sheet of paper for each chicken) in which hundreds and hundreds of chickens are crammed, living together with each other and with the same excrement they produce: the air becomes unbreathable, because the shed is not cleaned until the end of its life cycle. The accelerated growth, favored by ultra-energetic feed, means that the legs of these specimens are unable to support their weight, which often prevents the chickens from moving around to drink and eat and causes fractures and broken bones. Prey to diseases even if they are vaccinated immediately, they practically never see sunlight, but live in conditions of forced ventilation and lighting. The light-dark cycle is also programmed to push the growth of the chickens as much as possible.”

Misinforming readers is not difficult: it is enough to write words freely, without ever citing any legislative or scientific reference. The density of chickens on farms is regulated by the European Parliament and implemented in Italia via the Legislative Decree 27 September 2010, n.181 , “implementation of Directive 2007/43/EC which establishes minimum standards for the protection of chickens raised for meat production”, which was approved in European level also with the favorable opinion of 9 Animal Welfare Associations , well known worldwide (Four Paws International, Eurogroup for Animals, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF EU), Animal Welfare Foundation ev, Slow Food, Humane Society Int/Europe, Animals’ Angel, Welfarm, Green REV Institute, World Animal Protection).

This density was related to the movement needs of the animals. Those who raise them and live in contact with them know very well that, when they are in a state of rest, they tend to move closer to each other, due to their natural gregarious attitude, leaving space for others to move, to access feeders and drinkers.

In the article it even goes so far as to state that chickens are unable to get up due to too much weight! One wonders why they are able to survive without drinking and eating, but above all to grow.

We also wonder how the chickens can grow if they are all sick, as is biasedly stated in the article by those who undoubtedly need an update on the health situation of broiler chicken farms.

Today, thanks to health and hygiene measures, biosecurity and vaccination programs, the average mortality rate on farms is 2.5%. And all this without having to resort to the use of antibiotics (unlike what anti-livestock activists continue to claim). This means that there is no waste of food, because the animals grow well and healthy, unlike what happened in rural farms, where the mortality rate could even reach 100% due to predation or serious diseases.

“In all of this we would like to underline how the European Directive 98/58/EC obliges member countries to respect the provisions to protect the well-being of farmed animals and to avoid unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to them, something decidedly disregarded by a country like ours , where 98% of chickens are broilers. In fact, despite the EU’s warnings, our government’s decision to continue on this path was made some time ago.”

Disinformation has also served at the legislative level. First of all, Directive 98/58/EC concerns the protection of all animals on farms, while if reference is made exclusively to broiler chicken the indications come from Legislative Decree 27 September 2010, n.181. It is important to point out that, for example, the compliance of Italian chicken farms with these provisions is monitored by the Ministry of Health through an Annual Inspection Plan. Therefore, the Government continues on the path of protected farms (also called intensive) precisely because these farms fully comply with the requirements established by law.

“The consequences of consuming broiler chicken meat

Leaving aside the enormous pollution caused by intensive farming and the tragic nature of the lives of these animals, the consequences of consuming this type of animal also have an important impact on our health. It was EFSA itself, the EU’s European Food Safety Authority, which confirmed, several years ago, that chicken meat is one of the main causes of cases of campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter infections) in humans: but it is not the only pathology, in fact salmonellosis also derives largely from the consumption of this type of meat. In general, it is now clear how consuming products from intensive farming such as those of broiler chickens creates problems for human health.”


The pollution caused by intensive farming is an old refrain that environmentalists repeat, spreading misleading information about it to consumers. The person who has been studying emissions from livestock activities on a global level for years is the GLEAM (Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model) structure that operates within the FAO.

Studies carried out by GLEAM say that poultry farming currently contributes only 0.8% to greenhouse gas emissions and this percentage is falling sharply thanks to the efficiency of intensive farming. As regards the spread of food poisoning with poultry meat, the important information and the only one that matters is that which is provided to us by the “Istituto Superiore di Sanità” which, through the “EpiCentro – Epidemiology for public health” declares that the risks arise above all from the consumption of raw meat and eggs . Correct cooking of food excludes any possibility of infection.

On the contrary, any consumption of raw products (among these it is important to underline that it also concerns vegetables) represents a potential risk of encountering toxic infections.


“The food produced with intensive farming, in fact, has poor nutritional capacity: the accelerated growth and the methods used to produce meat from intensive farming mean that products arrive on the shelves of our shops which have lost their original properties and which are poorly nutrients.”

Every word in this paragraph is pure misinformation. The true point of reference for consumers cannot be a blog that offers information distorted by ideologies, but the Ministry of Health, which when it talks about “conscious consumption” (*), describes poultry meat like this:

“…it is rich in proteins with high biological value and amino acids. It has a low fat content…”



Link in M.A.C. italian version: C_17_opuscoliPoster_278_italian

Link in M.A.C. english version: C_17_opuscoliPoster_278_english


“It can cause resistance to antibiotics, i.e. the phenomenon in which drugs are not very effective or not at all. However, most of the antibiotics ingested come from intensive farming: Italy is the third European country to use them the most, according to the most recent data from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).”

If in the blog they had bothered to delve into the data on the consumption of antibiotics in livestock farming (we are referring here to Italy), they would have discovered that in 2023, their use in poultry farming decreased by 95% compared to 2011, and at the same time there was a drastic reduction in resistance to these drugs. The poultry sector, in terms of the prudent use of antibiotics, has adapted to the indications of European and Italian legislators, international drug agencies and the world of science, more promptly and effectively than other livestock sectors. In full accordance with the concept of ” One Health “.

“The look of a free-range chicken – How to recognize (and avoid buying) a broiler chicken

Relying on a trusted butcher, who provides us with information on the origin, as well as the breeding methods, of his meat is always the best thing: but for those who don’t have this possibility, how can you recognize quality meat in the supermarket? Unfortunately, broiler chickens do not have a brand that makes them “stand out” compared to other chickens, but there are some elements to observe to avoid this type of purchase. First of all, you must always read the label carefully, which contains various information: as well as cut, weight, expiry date, origin and any certifications. Always prefer animals raised organically, where possible, or coming from open-air farms, free to move and fed healthy foods. If you buy it whole, look at the size of the breast and thighs: they must be proportionate to the rest of the chicken and not excessively large. A very puffy and broad breast is a sign that it is an intensively raised chicken. Weight is a fundamental element: high quality farmed chickens should be between 3 and 4 months old and weigh between 1kg and 1.4kg. Free-range chicken, on the other hand, should weigh between 1.2 kg and 2 kg. The meat must be firm, pink (or yellowish in the case of free-range chickens) and elastic to the touch: check which can only be done after buying it.”


We ask ourselves whether it is correct to try to influence the consumer so heavily with information distorted by ideologies, usually misleading and very often false. Instead, it is correct to give consumers all the information regarding chicken farming in general, including information on fast-growing chickens.

This must not appear as a statement against organic farming or that of slow-growing chickens, which remain an excellent niche product, nevertheless suitable for satisfying the palates of more affluent consumers. In fact, there is a consequent piece of information that is carefully kept hidden from the reader/consumer: slow-growing and organic chickens cost much more and are less sustainable from an environmental point of view.

They cost more because they consume more feed to obtain the same quantity of meat, which translates, globally, into a waste of resources and the use of more arable land to produce. They also need more space: about 4 square meters per chicken. Therefore they have a greater impact on land use. They also have a higher water footprint, meaning they consume more water to obtain the same amount of meat.

And there are also other aspects to evaluate.

Outdoor breeding implies the presence of greater risks for the animals: the risk of contracting avian influenza from wild birds is one of these; predation by carnivores is another serious risk, which moreover has serious consequences for the well-being of farmed animals; parasitic and spore-forming diseases are difficult to eradicate from outdoor plots as they are not washable and disinfectable; slow-growing chickens also produce much more manure per kilo of meat produced, which leads to greater pollution due to lower feed efficiency. Furthermore, the run-off of manure in outdoor parks during rainy periods can contaminate surface water.

“Another check you can do while cooking it is the amount of water it loses: if its size is reduced by about half you can be pretty sure that that meat does not come from extensive farming (and therefore decide to turn to other traders for future purchases).”

It is not possible to correctly inform the consumer by providing exaggerated and approximate data. A certain weight loss of meat during cooking is normal and is due to the evaporation of the water present in it: meat from slow-growing chickens loses 20-25% of its weight, while meat from fast-growing chickens they lose 30-35% of their weight. This difference is partly offset by the longer cooking time required by meat from slow-growing chickens. In the end, the difference in water loss during cooking turns out to be less than 10%.

Finally, two other aspects must be considered:

  1. it is important to underline that the economically weaker sections of the population are the majority. Any attempt to make the satisfaction of basic needs more expensive for them has serious social consequences.
  2. it is even more important to reflect on the fact that only a truly informed consumer is free to choose. And it must be able to do so without conditioning. Those who manage information channels should feel the responsibility and have the objectivity of providing a complete vision of the issues they are dealing with, not just a biased vision, distorted by ideologies.


The MAC editorial team