All over the world, chicken seems to be a go-to 'food'.
People are convinced that birds make a healthier option than pigs or cows. But under all those false promises - leanness, best source of protein, low in fat - poultry is not an ideal health food at all.
Eating chickens is not only a barbaric practice, but also extremely damaging to one's health.
We've rounded-up some facts about chicken that will make you second-guess those nuggets.
Many people swap red meats for chicken in a bid to lower their cholesterol levels and be healthier - but they could be wasting their time.
Top plant-based physician Dr. Michael Greger has looked at the information - and concluded that the impact of beef on human cholesterol isn't necessarily much worse than that of poultry and fish.
He says: "Switching from red meat to white meat likely wouldn't make any difference [to cholesterol].
"And that's really no surprise given how fat we've genetically modified chickens to be these days - up to 10 times more fat than they used to have a century ago.
"So there's a number of cuts of beef that have less cholesterol-raising saturated fat than chicken."
There are little to no cruelty regulations in the chicken industry. In fact, birds have officially been exempted from the 'Humane Methods of Slaughter Act'.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture exempts birds from its enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that farm animals be insensible to pain before they’re shackled and killed," according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Around 9 billion chickens and turkeys are killed for meat each year in the U.S. alone. These sentient animals spend their entire lives in total confinement; more chickens are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined.
Once at the slaughterhouse, the birds are hung upside down and their throats are cut open by machines. The chickens are then immersed in scalding-hot water for feather removal - and they are fully conscious throughout the entire process.
According to media reports, tests conducted on raw chicken purchased across the U.S. have found that 97 percent of tested chicken breast samples 'harbored bacteria that could make you sick'.
The analysis discovered high rates of intestinal bacteria, including E. coli, Enterococcus, and Salmonella.
As a highly inquisitive and intelligent species (which can be as smart as cats and dogs), chickens are 'good at solving problems', according to animal behaviorist Dr. Chris Evans.
They are also able to comprehend that recently hidden objects still exist.
Chickens have their own social hierarchies, form friendships, and they love and care for their young.
Talking about chickens' capabilities, Evans said: "As a trick at conferences, I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys."
NOTE: Even if chickens weren't clever, as living, sentient beings they still shouldn't be eaten. This is just a fascinating fact.
The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has admitted that chicken meat is filled with arsenic, a highly poisonous chemical that is four times more toxic than mercury.
The substance is given to chickens because it prompts quicker weight gain and less feeding, and it also enhances the pink coloring in raw meat.
When ingested, arsenic can lead to invasive squamous carcinoma, Bowen illness, basal cell skin cancer carcinoma, and liver, kidney, lung, and bladder cancer.
And although the FDA is trying to convince the public that chicken meat is still safe for consumption - despite the amount arsenic found - experts have issued a warning about the responsibility of arsenic for fetus damage.
The slaughtering of birds on such a massive scale pollutes land, air, and water with deceased carcasses, feces, heavy metals, chemicals, bacteria, parasites, pathogen cysts, and viruses.
Poultry slaughterhouses release large amounts of waste into the environment, polluting land and surface waters - as well as posing a serious threat to humans. The leaching of nitrate and pathogen transfers to groundwater also affects the quality of our drinking water.
Wildlife habitat is also destroyed to make space for new slaughtering plants, therefore resulting in biodiversity losses.
Made it to the end of this list and you're thinking that you'll just switch to 'free-range', 'organic', or 'humanely-raised' chicken?
In reality, factory farming accounts for 99.9 percent of chickens raised for meat in the U.S. Even if the chickens have been raised on free-range and organic farms, chickens often spend just as much time confined to crowded spaces as those on conventional farms.
Diana is a London-based writer dedicated to bringing you the latest updates in ethical consumerism and plant-based nutrition. She is a recent media graduate with extensive journalistic experience, and writes in hopes of changing the narrative. You can follow Diana on Instagram and Twitter @dianalupica
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
Since you're here...
Plant Based News is a FREE service that receives millions of views each week on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, our weekly newsletter and this website. This takes a lot of our personal time, money and hard work. But we do it because we KNOW it makes a difference. If those following our reporting helped by contributing, we could do even more. Please consider supporting us so we can create further awareness about animal rights, environmentalism, ethical consumerism and the plant-based lifestyle. Not a false narrative - but information that empowers people to make better choices.