Narrated by Alicia Silverstone, this undercover footage exposes the agonizing final stages in the lives of chickens raised for meat and a broken food system that puts workers at risk to keep up with the demands of our nation’s meat industry.

At the slaughterhouse, chickens are shackled upside down by their legs while fully conscious, dragged through electrified water, and slashed at the throat, often while still able to feel pain.


Now it’s your turn. You can put an end to this suffering by urging your senators to stop this horrific high-speed slaughter.

On May 28, Sen. Cory Booker and eight other senators sent a letter to Senate leadership asking them to halt higher-speed slaughter for chickens, pigs, and cows during the COVID-19 pandemic, a request made just days before the Senate is expected to vote on the latest coronavirus relief package, the HEROES Act. Mercy For Animals is calling on the Senate to make this request a directive of the HEROES Act.

9 Billion Chickens Slaughtered Every Year

Over 9 billion chickens are slaughtered annually in the United States. For many years, Mercy For Animals has documented the horrors that these chickens endure inside slaughterhouses. But in 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture made things even worse—adopting a new program that could allow an unlimited number of slaughterhouses to operate slaughter lines at speeds of up to 175 birds per minute, or about three birds per second.

In April alone, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA approved at least 15 requests from plants to operate at these higher speeds. By granting these requests, the USDA has put not just animals at risk but workers, who are often forced to stand closely together to keep up with the line and may be unable to practice social distancing. Slaughterhouse workers are dying at astounding rates throughout the country.

In this investigation, which Mercy For Animals conducted in late 2019, birds were tossed onto rapid conveyor belts leading to an ominous room with a line of metal shackles.

Workers were required to perform at an extremely fast pace—elbow to elbow, grabbing chickens and hanging them upside down on metal shackles to dangle by their feet.

The investigator also witnessed birds left hanging by their legs for over an hour and a half due to a facility-wide power outage.


Mercy For Animals has led the fight against the USDA’s reckless high-speed slaughter program. In 2017, the National Chicken Council submitted a petition to the USDA to raise slaughter-line speeds for poultry. Mercy For Animals led a coalition in opposing this request and, after the USDA elected to raise slaughter-line speeds to up to 175 birds per minute, joined the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Outlook, the Government Accountability Project, and Marin Humane in filing a federal lawsuit against the USDA. As this lawsuit remains pending, Mercy For Animals continues its fight on The Hill—urging the U.S. Congress to pass a law that will halt high-speed slaughter once and for all.

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