Charities warn that another fresh hell is coming for the animals due to a major heatwave in the UK.
Some chicken farms allowed millions of birds to be “cooked alive,” and the government should do something about it, experts said.
They also said that ministers shouldn’t be traveling and should postpone their journeys with cattle and chickens until the intense weather cools down.
Another ‘Fresh Hell’ for Chickens
Whistleblowers revealed that chicken factory farms are doing only the bare minimum when it comes to keeping their hens cool during extreme heat waves.
Industrial sheds reached up to 45°C, leaving many chickens to suffer from heat distress. These birds were found flapping and panting until they died.
Charities continue calling for the government’s attention and to enact new laws for better chicken farm practices and ventilation. There should also be lower capacity standards, which means fewer birds put into sheds.
They also suggested making it compulsory to use more of the hardier chicken breeds that can deal with intense heat. This type of chicken was less susceptible to impaired breathing, lameness, and organ failure.
Whistleblowers submitted graphic reports showing a farm that looked like “an ocean of green, rotting mush” resulting from the last heatwave.
Legislation already required the proper ventilation protocols for chicken factories to avoid overheating. However, it was not always enforced.
Cordelia Britton from the Humane League UK said:
“Another heat wave is at bay, and we have yet another fresh hell for animals.”
“It’s a national disgrace.
“We need the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) to be made the minimum legal standard. Existing laws should be designed to protect animals from high temperatures to be enforced. The government should not ignore this and wait for the next catastrophe to happen.”
To top it off, chicken factory farms raise fast-growing chickens that are prone to high body temperature. This may result in hyperventilation, dizziness, heart failure, diarrhea, and, in worse cases, death.
What’s The Solution?
The government was able to send a guide on heat stress in 2005. However, the mass death of chickens during the heatwave in 2019 raised questions about its efficiency, preparedness, and implementation.
The head of Open Cages, Connor Jackson, said, “These chickens were destined for the shelves of supermarkets. But they are cooked alive instead. The government should do something to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”
Nestlé and Greggs, along with 330 other companies, have signed the BCC.
Compassion in World Farming, at the same time, is requesting the government to postpone journeys involving the transport of animals under extreme heat.
Phil Brook from the charity said, “The heat inside trucks can be unbearable with animals desperately panting for air.
“Long journeys should be suspended, and short journeys should only take place if absolutely necessary and at night when it’s cooler. Sufficient water must also always be within reach.”
Regarding live animal journeys, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) sent a guide to animal transporters and livestock keepers that ensures the animals’ welfare during hot weather.
As for chickens, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “It is important that the health and welfare of animals are protected, and we are deeply worried about recent chicken mortalities.
The APHA is working with local authorities and making sure any appropriate further action has taken place.