5 More Reasons To Boycott Chick-fil-A

By Jane | August 8, 2012

Chickens

There’s been a lot of squawk this week about Chick-fil-A’s ties to homophobic hate groups. While this is an excellent reason to never eat there again, it’s not the only one. Not by a long shot.

Here are 5 More Reasons To Boycott Chick-fil-A.

#5: The Ingredients

These are the ingredients in a Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe:

Spicy chicken (100% natural whole breast filet, water, seasoning [salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika], seasoning [maltodextrin, flavor, modified rice starch, tapioca dextrin, salt, cottonseed oil, paprika, contains less than 2% enzyme modified milkfat, soy lecithin], spicy seasoned coater [enriched bleached flour {bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate, leavening, spice, nonfat milk, soybean oil, whey, color {paprika, Yellow #6}], milk wash [water, egg, nonfat milk], peanut oil [fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added]), bun (enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: liquid yeast, soybean oil, nonfat milk, salt, wheat gluten, soy flour, dough conditioners [may contain one or more of the following: mono- and diglycerides, calcium and sodium stearoyl lactylates, calcium peroxide], soy flour, amylase, yeast nutrients [monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate], calcium propionate added to retard spoilage, soy lecithin, cornstarch, butter oil [soybean oil, palm kernel oil, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, TBHQ and citric acid added as preservatives, and artificial color]), tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, pepper jack cheese, (pasturized milk, hot peppers [Jalapeno and Habanero], cheese culture, salt, enzymes), pickle (cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, lactic acid, calcium chloride, alum, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate [preservatives], natural flavors, polysorbate 80, yellow 5, blue 1).

I don’t care how little you know about nutrition, it is just common sense that a chicken sandwich with more than 100 ingredients cannot be good for you. (Tweet This)

Do I need to add that many of these items are downright terrible for you? Because they are. You really don’t want to be eating such things as dimethylpolysiloxane, sodium stearoyl lactylates, ammonium sulfate, polysorbate 80, soybean oil, palm kernel oil, and TBHQ.

This is the opposite of food. Boycott.

#4: Frankenfood

A normal chicken has a lifespan of around 18 years. The chickens in your chicken sandwich lived for 6 to 8 weeks.

How can this be?

Factory chickens are bred to grow 400% faster than real chickens. (Tweet This). By the time these franken-chickens reach 8 weeks, they’re so obese that 90% of them can no longer walk.

Remember the floppy-boned humans in Wall-E? That’s what factory chickens are today. Boycott.

#3: Cruelty In Life

During their brief weeks of life, chickens may be caged or free. Either way, they live inside a dim warehouse, where they have roughly one square foot of space each.

The noise, heat, and caustic air in a chicken warehouse would have you running for the great outdoors in seconds if you had the misfortune to find yourself there. The chickens live their entire lives there.

When a chicken’s time is up, a worker grabs it and stuffs it into a crates. Each worker can crate about 30 birds per minute – this is a fast, violent process. It’s so violent that around 30% of chickens arrive at the slaughterhouse with broken bones. (Tweet This)

The chickens are transported from “farm” to slaughterhouse (sometimes hundreds of miles) in trucks that are not equipped with food, water, heating, or cooling.

Whether it’s 100 degrees outside or 30, the bruised and broken birds are left to deal with it. Boycott.

#2: Inhumanity In Death

Chickens are exempt from the USDA’s Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Slaughterhouses can inflict whatever suffering, pain, or trauma they want in order to best maximize profits.

And they do.

When chickens arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are shackled and hung upside down on a conveyor system, often creating such a din of screaming and squawking that workers can’t hear each other speak.

The chickens are sent through a series of slaughter stations, starting with a low-voltage electric bath, which paralyzes (but doesn’t kill) them. Unable to move, the conscious birds are then taken through an automated throat slitter. A person at the “kill station” finishes off the birds that were only mangled by the throat slitter, not killed.

Once most of them are dead, the birds are plunged into a tank of heated water, where pathogens are free to roam from one chicken body to the next.

After that, their heads and feet are torn off and the bodies are slit open by another machine. This is by no means a clean process. Intestines are often torn, leaving feces (and bacteria) inside the carcass.

An inspector is supposed to check each chicken, but according to Jonathan Safran Foer in his book Eating Animals, the inspection process is pretty much a joke.

Quoting an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, he describes it like this:

Every week, millions of chickens leaking yellow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria, or marred by lung and heart infections, cancerous tumors, or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers.

This will soon become your delicious chicken sandwich. Boycott.

#1: Fecal Soup

Maybe you noticed that the second ingredient in the Deluxe Spicy Chicken Sandwich is water? Did you also notice that it does not say “filtered natural spring water” or anything like that?

These two things should cause you to ask: Why is there water in my chicken and what’s in that water?

After slaughter (in the US, not Canada or Europe) the chicken carcasses are thrown into a pool of cold water. Up to 10,000 birds can be floating in the same pool. Floating with the bodies is plenty of blood, feathers, and chicken shit.

There’s so much shit that the pool is affectionately nicknamed “fecal soup” by workers.

The bodies soak up this fecal soup until they’re nice and plump; the chicken you buy is allowed to be up to 11% water weight. This makes the meat look better and weigh more, increasing profits for the industry.

So not only are we being fed whatever filth and bacteria has made it into that fecal soup, we’re paying for it too. Boycott.

News Flash: It’s Not Just Chick-fil-A

Though they may be the only chicken place actively funding idiotic hate groups, it’s not just Chick-fil-A that feeds us Frankenfried Fecal Soup. In fact, almost all of the chicken sold in the US (and many other countries besides) is manufactured in the way I’ve described. In fact, unless you make a concerted effort to buy only pastured chicken, you are eating chickens raised and killed with cruelty.

While it may seem kind of hilarious to request your chicken’s resume before you eat it, it’s worth asking a few questions about what you put in your mouth.

Sources and More Info

Raising Chickens The Right Way
More about chicken inspections
Chicken Transport and Slaughter
Chicken Living Conditions
Chicken Hatchery Conditions
Eating Animals is a must-read if you have any interest in where your food comes from and what it experiences before it lands on your plate.

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Got a few more minutes? Read these posts.

[column size=”one-half”]Should I Eat This? Part 4.0 Meat and the Environment
What is life like on a pig or cow farm? Find out here.[/column]
[column size=”one-half” last=”true”]No AntibioticsShould I Eat This? Part 4.1: Meat & Your Health
Want to know what’s in your burger and bacon? This is the place to start.[/column]

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3 comments

  1. Comment by kent houck

    kent houck Reply August 19, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Two years ago I had all the major tests down after a seziure of which a cause was never found. I was told my lungs looked like a healthy 30 year old I was around 38, 39 surprised me and my family seeing I have smoked a ton of cigarettes in my life. To the point I got a job at Chick fil a as a breader, I fileted and breaded the chicken- what I thought was allergies moving from Austin to Arkansas and being told by folks here something was growing in which most likely i would have allergies from. Went to ER- and long story short their are fungal (we think) nodules in both lungs- I am wondering if the coater from Chick fil a has any part of this happening. My health was pretty great until about a seven month run of breading this chicken now I can hardly breathe… Anyone here of anything common to this?

  2. Pingback: Vegan Weekend: Perfect Thin Pizza Crust | My Five Acres

  3. Comment by JaneM

    JaneM Reply August 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    A quick note: in the original post I referred to genetically modified chickens. I meant to say genetically selected – which is a very different thing indeed! Thanks to Twilight at Grist for pointing this out!

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