Chicken delves into the modern meat industry, namely poultry, and the issues surrounding it. The main focus of the writing is the abuse that the birds and the workers endure, both of which have their respective sections. The first section first talks about how rationing of other meats like beef led to an explosion in the popularity of chicken after the war. Years later, the introduction of the McNugget led to another explosion in the industry, this time popularizing processed chicken in addition to non processed chicken. With cost of raising and transporting the birds on the rise the industry looked for cheaper and easier ways of feeding, housing, and transporting them, which led to a sharp decline in ethical treatment of the chickens. This helped the industry keep up with demand at a reasonable cost, but decimated farmers, who found themselves in massive debt to large name brands like Tyson and others. Aside from the burden the farmers faced, the birds themselves suffered inhumane treatment and barely livable conditions in order to keep up with the rising demand.
Section two delves into the treatment of workers. With the rise in popularity of chicken came unfair and unethical treatment of workers. Many of the workers were illegal immigrants who came to the US south looking to better their own life and the lives of their families. Because of the fact that they weren’t citizens they were taken advantage of by being denied bathroom breaks and being paid next to nothing. Lack of job rotation left some workers with physical injuries from performing the same task over and over again without cease. On top of this factories were not properly maintained and were filthy, leading to more injuries and product being tainted.