A teen in Stockton, California, found what he believed to be a chicken brain in his KFC meal.
— #Thinker ? (@areta) February 27, 2015
The teen was disgusted after finding the organ (which was later determined to be a chicken kidney or gizzard, both of which are considered safe to eat) and has asked KFC to refund his money. But does he realize that the other things in his fast-food meal are also gross body parts?
In a world of nuggets, patties, and strips made from processed meats that have been formed into non-animal shapes, it’s easy to forget that we’re eating the decaying body parts of another being who was once alive.
Chickens are highly intelligent, sensitive animals with unique personalities and feelings, just like the dogs and cats we share our homes with. But chickens raised by the commercial meat industry often spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where intense crowding and confinement can lead to disease outbreaks.
They’re bred to grow so large so quickly that their legs can’t keep up, which regularly causes them to suffer from painful bone and joint conditions. Undercover investigations into the broiler chicken industry have repeatedly revealed that birds were suffering from dehydration, respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, heart attacks, crippled legs, and other serious ailments. When chickens are only about 6 weeks old, they’re typically crammed into tiny cages, loaded onto trucks, and sent off to slaughter.
At most slaughterhouses, chickens’ legs are forced into shackles, their throats are cut, and they’re immersed in scalding-hot water to remove their feathers.
Because chickens have no federal legal protection (birds are exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act), most of them are still conscious when their throats are cut, and many who either slip past the throat cutter or are still alive after having gone through it are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.
Of course, all this suffering takes place behind closed doors, so it’s easy to forget about it and dive into a bucket of fried chicken parts (out of sight, out of mind). But do we really want to live in a society that thinks it’s acceptable to torture a living, feeling being just to have 10 minutes of pleasure or a convenient lunch? I know I don’t.
So if finding a chicken organ in your fast-food meal grosses you out, make the connection—and go vegan! With so many animal-free options now available at grocery stores and even fast-food restaurants like Taco Bell and Chipotle, it’s easier than ever.