A recent article in Slate notes the shift within animal protection toward advocating for the chicken, a species that not long ago wasn’t of great importance to many animal activists. Citing the successful cage-free egg movement, columnist Daniel Engber observed that animal activists are taking a more utilitarian approach aimed at alleviating as much suffering for as many animals as possible. An estimated 99 percent of animals killed for industrial purposes are slaughtered for food, and that nearly 90 percent of those animals are chickens. Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), called prioritizing chickens “strategic pragmatism” and said it might lead HSUS and other organizations to soon focus more on fish farming. Shapiro noted that “billons” of fish are killed for food every year and that they “are overcrowded and kept in squalid conditions; they suffer from parasites, and the waters are dosed with antibiotics and other drugs.”
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