Last updated 6 August 2020

Broiler chickens are slaughtered between 6 and 8 weeks old at around 3kg. Chickens are depopulated from sheds in the darkness of night and often handled very roughly by workers.

Chickens are trucked to slaughterhouses in crowded crates, their wings, legs and heads commonly getting stuck between the crates and metal bars of the truck, causing them to suffer immensely even before reaching the slaughterhouse. On the trucks, they are also exposed to extreme weather with no protection from the heat or cold. Statistics suggest that each year up to 0.46% of chickens arrive 'DOA' (dead on arrival) at the slaughterhouse. Applied to the over half a billion chickens raised in Australia, that means up to 2,536,160 chickens may arrive DOA.

chicken slaughter

Once chickens arrive at the slaughterhouse they are shackled upside down by their feet. They are then moved through an electrified bath of water, into which their heads are intended to be submerged to render them unconscious, before their throats are cut and they are bled out prior to their bodies being ‘processed’.  Birds then proceed into a scalding tank to loosen their feathers before plucking. It is common for birds to lift their heads and miss the stun bath, meaning their throats are cut whilst they are still completely conscious.

Other legally acceptable methods of slaughter for broilers include decapitation and neck dislocation.