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Ask Canada’s 6 largest grocers to hold their suppliers to a higher standard.

To: Costco, Loblaw, Metro, M&M Food Market, Sobeys

Chickens are arguably among the most abused animals in the world. I am a caring Canadian consumer who believes that these sensitive animals deserve to be given more humane housing, transportation and slaughtering.

Chickens raised for meat (broilers)

Most broiler chickens have been genetically selected for fast growth. Chickens bred for fast growth cause the birds immense suffering. In addition to an extremely short lifespan of just 33 - 35 days, fast growth genetics cause:

  • their bones to break
  • their legs to collapse under their own weight
  • heart failure and death

Moreover, these birds are kept in crowded, dark conditions that cause stress, ammonia and litter burns. Once they reach slaughter weight, their transport and slaughter result in further suffering from rough handling and outdated slaughter techniques.

These extreme practices need to stop. Please require your broiler chicken suppliers to:

  • Phase out fast growth genetics, and replace with slower growing strains of birds
  • Provide birds with more space and enrichment such as hay bales
Egg- laying hens

Hens should be:

  • kept in loose housing, not cramped cages where they peck each other and lose their feathers
  • allowed to nest, perch, dust-bathe and spread their wings

Chickens can freeze to death in winter or suffocate in summer when being transported to slaughter. Require your producers to hire trailers that moderate the internal temperature. This would result in a more humane ride for the animals and a lower death rate on arrival.

  • Replace the electrified-water stun bath system with an improved system such as Controlled Atmosphere Killing
  • Add video surveillance in slaughterhouses

These are the most basic welfare needs. Please ask the suppliers of the chicken products to adhere to the above standards.

For additional welfare information for broiler chickens, please see:

5-Step Animal Welfare Ratings Standards for Chickens Raised for Meat 3.0

U of G Researchers Prove Slow-Growing Chickens More Humane in Groundbreaking Study

For additional welfare information for laying hens, please see:

RSPCA welfare standards for laying hens

2 Eat More Plant-Based Foods

Choose vegetarian/vegan meals more often.
Grocery stores have more meat-free alternatives than ever.

Reducing animal products reduces suffering! It also happens to be great for you and for the environment.

Some common brands that make great faux-chicken:

Try a few different things, and you're sure to find something you like. It's also easy to make healthy seitan at home, from wheat gluten flour. Seitan has more protein than meat, minus unhealthy animal fats.

You are not alone. More people than ever are interested in alternatives to meat:

Google searches on veganism have trippled between 2005 and 2015, as more and more people are learning about meat-free living.
Google, 2015.

About 1 in 3 Canadians, or 12 million people, are trying to eat less meat or are vegetarian. 12% of all 18-34 year olds are fully or mostly vegetarian.
Vancouver Humane Society, 2015.

More than 50% of Canadians are open to reducing their overall meat consumption and eating less meat when eating out.
Vegetarian Resource Group, 2010, and others.

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