cubi con scritte FAKE e FACT

Some clarity on poultry farming

The ‘stories’ about the poultry world reach the public mainly from avowedly ‘anti-farming’ organised entities that have good reason to tell their side of the story, because the poultry world to the public ‘speaks’ little about itself except through commercials and little else, but without delving into topics that would deserve it and also avoid allowing certain fanciful interpretations of reality.

Numerous videos circulate in which an exaggerated rhetoric of evil against good is expressed.

Videos shot with skill to convey a level of drama produced by strategies similar to those of illusionists, who construct their shows by practising making the audience focus on marginal aspects with respect to the effect of the illusion (and thus the trick) they stage.

Among the most obvious tricks is that of making occasional, irrelevant and even inevitable facts appear extraordinary.


For example, that out of thousands of chickens a few dozen die is even natural. In this game, it should be noted that in the human population there are numerous cases of individuals who, despite having been brought up in an overprotective civilisation, die suddenly for the most disparate reasons… do we believe that this is the result of someone’s calculation?

Another ‘trick’: in the reports it is often stated that “The XYZ investigative team conducted an unpublished investigation, the results of which are published, precisely to show that it is genetic selection that dooms these animals, regardless of the environment in which they are bred. The team consulted experienced veterinarians who x-rayed ‘n‘ dead chickens (where ‘n‘ is often a single-digit number) on an intensive farm.

As observers, we ask: what are the competences of the teams involved? Who are the people and in what capacity do they make the claims they make following consultation with unnamed veterinarians? What drives those (competent?) veterinarians to venture assessments based on samples that are in no way representative, nor indicative, of any scientific sign? And what were all the other chickens like? What vaccinations had they received? What feed had they been fed?  What water had they been drinking? What ventilation was there? What inconveniences, if any, had they suffered? Nothing is ever said on these issues.

While waiting for answers, in order to better understand the limits of certain films and the comments that accompany them, the M.A.C. experts point out that it should be known that all professional breeders, even if only to check and assess the weight of the animals on a farm, weigh dozens of animals per shed every week.

Other observations on the ‘complaint films’ we point them out by responding below to the typical phrases often reported by these ‘reports’:

  • “Chickens are bred exclusively to produce meat…”

what else should they be bred for? Every year (let’s take Italy as an example) about 500 million chickens are used to meet demand. The poultry industry provides healthy, simple and cheap food for at least 2/3 of the world.

  • “… are genetically condemned to suffer”

at best they are genetically selected according to their natural voracity by letting them grow up to 3-4 kg because beyond that would be uneconomic for the whole industry including the environment. In fact, the poultry industry works incessantly to ensure that the care of the animal increases its welfare, which means that it grows better and faster… just like our young people who, due to particularly favourable environmental conditions and wide access to food, grow as their grandparents would never have grown up in deprivation and hardship.

  • “… all die much earlier than the 7-10 years a non-broiler chicken might reach”

in fact they are bred to produce meat/eggs, they are not pets! And speaking of companion animals, shall we talk without hypocrisy about the sterilisation and cross-breeding of different breeds that man does to make them pleasing to himself?

  • “…intensive breeding is based on the suffering deliberately imposed by human beings on animals selected specifically to maximise their profits at the expense of their health.”

Would the farmer therefore have an interest in making his animals suffer and die in order to make more money?

  • “(about the fast growth of chickens) it is as if a baby weighs 300 kilos in just two months”

Comparisons between different breeds are meaningless and alone disqualify any claims made by the team or the vets. Compared to an ant, if it made sense to make the comparison, man should be able to lift 7-800 kg!!!

  • “chickens reared in intensive farming have low immune defences due to a limited genetic make-up”.

Gratuitous and false claim, what do they know? Have they checked the antibody kits of those animals? And how many in all?

  • “They suffer damage to internal organs attributable mainly to genetic selection”

Genetic selection… meaning? The broiler breeds are the result of a selection that, although the term ‘genetic’ makes one think of who knows what, it is instead natural selection made by observing the behaviour of animals that, like any other animal, carry with them a genetic endowment derived from their ancestors. The choice is therefore made to breed only those with certain characteristics. These animals grow up in protected breeding farms (which are not the farms designed by Walt Disney) both to protect their wellbeing in a broad sense and to prevent all the care they are given from coming into contact with diseases brought in from outside and aggression from wild animals. The speed at which the animal grows stems from allowing it to live (admittedly for less than it could) in the wellbeing generated by the attention on modern farms. Using terms such as ‘shelters’ to refer to places unduly defined as ‘intensive’ where broilers’ resistance and resilience can be ‘tested’ is an instrumental choice. Sheltered farms (a more appropriate term than ‘intensive’ which generates misplaced reflections) are much safer than any outdoor shelter.

  • “Rapid breeding must be banned”.

It would take a long time to explain, having to resort to a description that extends what was said in the previous point. However, we can succinctly say that when ‘rapid growth’ is replaced by ‘slow growth’ (a model that is also being developed commercially) the consequences are (to name but a few) higher costs for the supply chain, higher costs for the consumer, higher environmental impact, and the chickens are brought to a predefined weight as suitable for slaughter, but only a few weeks later.

  • “one of the dead chickens in the shelter died of pneumonia…”

ONE!!! That is the number of dead animals the camera lingers on in an experiment carried out by an association after taking some chickens from an intensive farm to try and raise them in a ‘home-made’ shelter. In front of that dead animal, no one wondered what the temperature and air management was like in that ‘shelter’. If you take any animal or plant that is accustomed (even genetically) to environments that preserve its well-being and you prodigiously place it in different environments… it will almost certainly happen that it will fall ill with something… even if it’s just a cold or a tummy ache.

M.A.C. observed that narrative practices are also used as communication strategies, by those who are against intensive farming, which consist of christening (naming) a chicken from the farm by building ridiculous stories around it. Someone may be trying to pull the wool over Walt Disney’s eyes.


The MAC Editorial Board