An estimated 83,000 chickens were killed when a fire swept through a Kissinger Brothers Poultry facility in western Ohio on Tuesday. This latest tragedy is yet another reminder of the harsh reality and inherent dangers factory-farmed animals face.
Confined to tiny cages or stalls with no access to the outdoors for fresh air and sunshine, these animals are immobilized and helpless when fires or other disasters strike. Treating animals as nothing more than production units, factory farmers are often quick to write these disasters off with insurance claims, while doing nothing to ensure the tens of thousands of sentient individuals in their "care" are protected from future disasters.
While these unfortunate birds' deaths were horrific, their lives likely weren't any better. MFA's investigations at egg factory farms across Ohio and the entire country have documented routine abuses, including birds crammed by the thousands into ammonia-laden sheds where disease runs rampant. In modern broiler chicken production, the birds experience crippling leg disorders and lameness because they have been bred to grow so large and so quickly that their legs are not capable of supporting their abnormally heavy bodies.