Chipotle Chicken Supplier exposed by Undercover Investigation

Live shackle process observed at a chicken supplier used by Chipotle (screenshots from video documented by Mercy for Animals undercover investigator)


The animal rights group Mercy for Animals is calling on restaurant chain Chipotle to honor its commitment to withdraw from the use of techniques that contribute to animal suffering at its chicken supplier location, George’s Inc., Slaughterhouse.

According to the organization, Chipotle agreed to address the supplier’s animal welfare practice such as live-shackle slaughter and chickens that are bred to grow unnaturally large in an unreasonably dangerous and short amount of time.

Mercy for Animals documents statistics from The National Chicken Council showing chickens in 1925 who reached their full body weight of 2.5 pounds over a period of 112 days compared to chickens who currently reach 6.56 pounds in only 47 days.

These overweight animals, dubbed Frankenchickens suffer the consequences of their large size such as the inability to support that weight or experiencing injury while toppling over.  Chipotle committed in 2017 to stop using “Frankenchickens” and the live-shackle process by 2024.

Live-shackle slaughter refers to birds that are hung upside down by their feet while awaiting the blade that will slit their throats.  The Mercy for Animals investigator observed some birds who had their legs torn from their bodies under this process, some who missed the stunning procedure, and some who missed the electrified bath and were fully conscious and suffering upon meeting the blade.  If the blade misses a particular bird, that chicken enters the scalding feather removal bath alive, conscious, and fully able to feel pain.

A popping sound can be heard and felt upon being hung upside down as leg joints on the birds are dislocated.  This dislocation is thought to be the result of overly rapid growth leading to immature bones that are unable to support the weight of the animal.

“A relentless stream of chickens arrived, some lifeless, others with bloodied wings and mangled limbs,” reported the undercover investigator, “I watched as one hen was roughly hung by a shattered leg.  It was a hellish sight.”

Aside from the animal cruelty allegations, the investigator reported blueish substances thought to be plastic particles attached to the musculature of a processed chicken.  The investigator reported this foreign material found in chickens at a processing plant used by Chipotle but further action has not been reported by the group.

Calls to Chipotle have not been returned.


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