Dear Editor,

Imagine being trapped while the building you’re in burns. All you can do is watch as the flames inch closer. By the time four chicken houses burned to the ground recently in Pike County, as many as 28,000 birds were dead.

We don’t have to imagine their terror. 

“Oh it was awful,” said a homeowner who witnessed the destruction. “You could hear the chickens and the noise they were making. It was unreal.”

Chickens are inquisitive, intelligent animals who, like cows, pigs and humans, love their young. When left in peace, hens cluck to their eggs and the chicks peep back from inside the shells.

Although they can live more than a decade, hens raised for their eggs are “spent” by the time they’re about 2 years old. More than 100 million are slaughtered every year: They’re shackled upside down, their throats are cut open and they’re immersed in scalding water for feather removal.

They’re often conscious throughout the entire process.

Nearly 9 billion chickens are raised and killed for their meat each year. Confined to huge, fetid, windowless sheds, they grow large fast thanks to genetic selection and a steady dose of growth-promoting drugs. Most aren’t 2 months old when they’re slaughtered. 

If you don’t want to support such cruelty, visit www.PETA.org for a free vegan starter kit.

Craig Shapiro

PETA Foundation