THL’s Largest Campaign Yet Confronts Chicken Agony at Aramark

September 28, 2016

Over most of the last decade, The Humane League has waged a successful campaign for a national boycott of battery cage farms. Building off of the progress that our supporters and advocates have won, we are now turning our sights to the most numerous of all farmed land animals: chickens raised and slaughtered for meat. There are currently no major corporate or legislative policies that grant these suffering animals any meaningful protections. We aim to change that.

That is why we are campaigning against Aramark, one of the largest foodservice companies in the world, to address the worst cruelties in their chicken supply chain. Our demand includes:

  • shifting to different breeds of bird to reduce incidences of lameness and crippling injuries;
  • replacing live-shackling methods of slaughter with controlled atmosphere stunning;
  • reducing the density of animals on farms so that they have more room per bird;
  • and adding environmental enrichments such as natural light and straw bales.

The Humane League kicked off our national effort against the foodservice giant yesterday with a huge demonstration outside of Aramark headquarters. After these dozens of advocates with signs and leaflets attracted attention, they moved on to protest at one of Aramark's most prestigious clients: the National Constitution Center. In addition, a mobile billboard measuring more than 20 feet long and 10 feet tall also circled Aramark's headquarters, and will continue to do so over the next week. Off-site, students at schools serviced by Aramark across the country are organizing on their campuses, pressuring the company to live up to its own values.

Aramark serves approximately 2 billion meals per year to millions of people through thousands of client locations around the country. Aramark's most notable clients include some of the country's largest universities, such as University of Central Florida, Arizona State University, and New York University, as well as national parks, prisons, hospitals, and major league sports stadiums. Our campaign will reach these organizations, encouraging them to join us in holding Aramark to a higher standard.

Approximately 9 billion chickens are raised and slaughtered each year in the United States alone; each bird suffers constantly and immensely in horrible conditions. The chickens in Aramark's supply chain suffer from terrible physical ailments both due to poor environmental conditions and selective breeding that has caused them to grow to a grotesque size at an alarming rate. Chickens raised for meat are bred to be approximately seven times larger than traditional domestic chickens. The chickens' bodies are all too often physically unable to bear the weight of their forced and unnatural growth, leaving them crippled and unable to move. Unable to walk without extreme pain, many die of dehydration when they can't reach water — others die from heart attacks, organ failure, and other problems related to rapid growth.

Chickens raised for Aramark's supply chain are crammed by the hundreds of thousands inside filthy, windowless sheds and forced to live for weeks in their own waste and toxic ammonia fumes. Birds who survive these wretched conditions are trucked to the slaughterhouse where they are violently shackled upside down, painfully shocked with electricity, and cut open at the throat — often while still conscious and able to feel pain. It is up to all of us to change this.

Our campaign is only possible because of the compassionate individuals who are willing to join us and speak up for hens. There are many ways to get involved: visit the campaign's website at www.agonyataramark.com to find out how to contact the corporation; sign our petition; join Fast Action Network for quick social media actions; or get in touch with the team at THL to help organize in your local area. Join the movement today and help create change for billions of animals.