Compassion in World Farming’s Investigation Unit has been on assignment in Georgia, USA to get the inside track on the USA’s biggest factory farming operation – the chicken industry.
Supporting Compassion’s new USA office and its work with the Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP) campaign, we were tasked with conducting a special investigation that examined the hotspots of intensive production in the state, the implications for animal welfare and the wider impacts intensive chicken farming is having on the environment and human health.
We found evidence that chickens are suffering in ‘super sized’ sheds that are bigger than American football fields. We met with workers whose sole job is to clear out the dead. We also spoke with experts concerned about the size and scale of this operation in Georgia, which makes it easily the biggest producer of chickens in the USA.
For the urban Georgian, it’s not obvious that Georgia is home to this massive industry, but hit the road to the north of the state, gaze at the rolling landscape and you might just glimpse the top of a shed or a feed bin, which more often than not will be the start of a mega farm, with countless sheds, housing as many as 300,000 chickens.
As we discovered during our journey, this is an industry that likes to be out of sight and out of mind.
Leah Garcés, USA Director of Compassion says: “For the first time we know the price Georgia is paying to be the largest producer of chicken meat in the country. The cost to people, to our environment and to the welfare of chickens is simply too great. We want a future for Georgia that is better than the future that chicken factory farming has to offer. To that end, we have formed Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP).”