Industrial Broiler Production

The numbers

Brazil is the largest exporter and third largest producer of chicken meat in the world (only behind the USA and China), with a production of 13.24 million tons and revenues of US$ 6.99 billion (ABPA, 2020).

Who imports Brazilian chicken?




Saudi Arabia




United Arab Emirates


South Africa


1. Genetic selection of fast-growing breeds

Genetic engineering has selected desirable characteristics for greater productivity for decades, aiming to maximize profits. One of these is rapid growth, up to 3 times faster than natural. Chickens grow so fast, especially their muscles, that their organs cannot catch up, causing painful locomotor problems (in the bones and joints), overburdening of the heart and lungs, and skin and leg injuries.

2. Overcrowding in farm barns

With the intensification of food production, animals have been enclosed in barns for greater land use efficiency. Today, the situation is as presented in the photo. There is almost no space for the chickens to move around, to spread their wings, dust bathe, scratch and explore the environment, things that are very important for their welfare.

3. Uncomfortable and unhealthy living environment

In addition to being overcrowded, the barns do not offer adequate lighting, nor a sufficient amount of hours of darkness to rest (like this they eat more, gaining weight quicker). There are no perches for birds to rest or explore the area, the floor is so filthy with waste that ammonia complicates the breathing and vision of the animals, not to mention the high levels of CO2 and dust that affect their health.

4. Use of antibiotics as growth promoters

Poultry farming commonly uses antibiotic medicine to make the birds absorb more nutrients from the feed, suffer less from diarrhea and gain weight quicker. However, this indiscriminate use can lead to the spread of super bacteria, that is, bacteria resistant to these antibiotics. This is extremely problematic, as we need these medicines to work when we are sick and infected by these bacteria. There will be no possible treatment for diseases caused by these pathogens if bacteria become resistant to antibiotics!

5. Painful slaughter procedure

On the way to being slaughtered, chickens are hung upside down from metal structures. A completely unnatural and painful position due to the weight pressing the claws, causing bruises and even dislocations and bone fractures.

After this procedure, the birds are immersed in containers with electrified water, stunning the chickens so they lose consciousness before slaughter. However, this stunning method is flawed. As the birds have different sizes, the electrical parameters need to be meticulously adjusted. If an electrical current is accidentally leaking through the equipment, there will not be enough current to render them unconscious immediately, leading to intense suffering.


(IBGE, 2019)

Proposals for Improvement

Require slower growing breeds.

Reduce the amount of animals stocked in barns.

Enrich the environment inside the barns (including bedding and lighting control).

Encourage the use of enzymes, organic acids, probiotics, prebiotics, symbiotics and essential oils as alternatives to antibiotics.

Avoid hanging and stunning by atmospheric changes.

Acquire certification on animal welfare.

International Setting (ECC, BCC)

Since 2016, more than 180 companies from the USA, Canada and several European countries have committed to the BCC.

Source: https://welfarecommitments.com/broiler/


Various food companies that use products of animal origin, such as eggs and pork, have made public commitments to adopt animal welfare measures in their production chain. See what these commitments are.

Laying hens