New Poll Reveals Chicken Consumers Would Switch Brands and Pay More for Meat to Avoid Current Standard Industry Practice of Live-Shackle Slaughter, Reports The Humane League

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Humane League announces new findings by Rethink Priorities revealing that large majorities of U.S. customers would be willing to switch brands and pay more for chicken to avoid the cruel and unfortunately common industry practice of live-shackle slaughter. This new data includes meat eaters, with 93% of respondents sharing that they consumed chicken within the past month.

Conducted by Rethink Priorities, the poll surveyed 2,000 individuals living in the U.S. Results found that a clear majority (81%) of American consumers would prefer to purchase chicken from a brand that did not perform the industry standard method of killing chickens for meat, known as live-shackle slaughter. The sample was weighted based on the U.S. Census to be representative of Americans by age, gender, education, race, political ideology, income, and urban/rural residence.

“This newfound data should come as a wake-up call for grocery stores, restaurants, and meat suppliers. As consumers learn more about what goes on behind the walls of factory farms, even avid meat eaters feel that animals deserve better than the daily torture inflicted on them,” said David Coman-Hidy, President of The Humane League. “It’s unsurprising that people are horrified by what goes on in slaughterhouses. Brands would be wise to move away from the cruel standard practice of live-shackle slaughter before their customers move away from them.”

In meat processing facilities across the country, live chickens are slammed into metal shackles—a method that often breaks their legs and makes it difficult for them to breathe. The chickens are then dragged through an electrified waterbath to be stunned, before their throats are cut by an automatic blade, and they’re submerged into a scalding water tank meant to remove feathers. Unfortunately, this process is often unreliable. According to the USDA, half a million chickens drowned in scalding tanks in 2019, equating to 1,400 birds boiled alive every day.

The shackling of live chickens has been shown to reduce the quality of meat, due to the violent struggle the birds endure. The practice creates dangerous hazards for slaughterhouse workers, who often end up covered in scratches, feces, blood, and pathogens. Meat industry giants like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Sanderson Farms could end this abuse with one decision—by ending the cruel, unhealthy practice of live-shackle slaughter.

This data comes as The Humane League works to urge the world’s largest food companies to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment, a set of welfare standards that includes ending the practice of live-shackle slaughter. More than 185 major US food companies, including Chipotle and Campbell’s, have already pledged to implement the changes in the Better Chicken Commitment—meaningfully reducing the suffering of chickens within their supply chains.

These findings will help inform the fate of the chicken industry, at a pivotal time when customers are growing increasingly concerned about where their food comes from.

As we approach the holidays, consumers should be aware that turkeys are also slaughtered using live-shackle slaughter.

For more information about live-shackle slaughter, visit

Media Contact:
Julia Tomkins

SOURCE The Humane League