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Adhering to the National Chicken Council's purported Animal Welfare Guidelines, Foster Farms says that it "is absolutely committed to the humane treatment of all animals... keeping the chickens comfortable, clean and well treated is a priority... and ensures excellent health and development."
However, an investigation by East Bay Animal Advocates reveals that Foster Farms chickens are repeatedly denied proper veterinary care and attention. According to Section 597.1.(a) of the California State Penal Code: "Every owner, driver, or keeper of any animal who permits the animal to be in any building, enclosure, lane, street, square, or lot of any city, county, city and county, or judicial district without proper care and attention is guilty of a misdemeanor." Poultry health issues revealed at Foster Farms include:
Stunted growth (i.e. Broiler Runting Syndrome);
Severe ammonia burns on breast, legs, feet;
Heart attacks (i.e. Sudden Death Syndrome);
Leg abnormalities (i.e. Splay-Leg Disorder & Lameness);
High newborn chicken mortality;
Fatal respiratory infections;
Substantial feather-loss; AND
Bloody fecal samples
After egg-hatching, Foster Farms' broilers (chickens raised for meat) live in large structures known as growout houses. Approximately, 20,000 birds are raised in each house at Foster Farms locations. Confined to the growout houses, broilers reach slaughter weight at only six to seven weeks-of-age. Housed in confinement, however, birds are forced to stand on accumulated fecal waste and breathe in dust and ammonia fumes.
According to the California Poultry Workgroup, "the progression of poultry management from extensive to more intensive systems has resulted in more increased bird density and concentration of their waste products."