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Tom Rawstorne for The Mail on Sunday
10:27 EST, 10 August 2013
10:27 EST, 10 August 2013 from Daily Mail
batch of several hundred eggs, precisely arranged in uniform rows,
moves along a conveyor belt, coming to a halt beneath a machine linked
to a jumble of tubes.
in position, the machine robotically lowers itself and then
simultaneously punctures each egg with a rack of hypodermic needles.
these needles, a mix of vaccines and antibiotics is injected into the
egg — and so into the unborn chick inside, which three days later will
Danger: Drugs being pumped into supermarket chickens are posing a threat to our health
If the scene sounds like
something from a science-fiction film, then that is hardly a surprise.
Today, large-scale poultry production has precious little to do with
green fields and ruddy-cheeked farmers.
year, more than 40 billion chickens are slaughtered worldwide for meat,
the vast majority of them intensively factory-farmed.
bottom line is profit. All that matters is the volume in which these
animals, bred to hit their genetically-modified slaughter weights within
35 days of hatching, can be churned out.
Given the intensity of the production
systems (raised in sheds of 50,000 birds, each will be lucky to have the
space of a piece of A4 paper in which to live), the dangers of disease
are massively magnified.
And so it is to prevent this that the chickens are vaccinated before birth against common diseases.
are often also dosed up with antibiotics — a preventative measure that
is easier and cheaper than dealing with individual illnesses at a later