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Chickens have a lot at stake in this Sunday’s big game.

The Likely Loser of the Super Bowl: Chickens. But You Can Change That.

Whether you’re betting on Peyton or Cam to win on Sunday, it looks like a pretty safe wager who the biggest loser of the big game will be.

The National Chicken Council (NCC) estimates Americans will gorge ourselves on 1.3 billion chicken wings, or about two animals’ worth of wings for every man, woman and child in the nation. “Any way you measure it,” boasts the NCC, “that’s a lot of freaking wings.”

So many, in fact, that to satiate our taste for chickens’ wings, we’ve taken the reclusive red jungle fowl of Southeast Asia and transformed the chicken into the most ubiquitous bird on the face of the Earth, with truly devastating consequences for these creatures.

Through an intensive genetic selection program to create massive chickens, the poultry industry has created animals who have more in common with NFL linemen than they do with their red jungle fowl ancestors.

Animal-science expert Temple Grandin, PhD, puts it bluntly: “Today’s poultry chicken has been bred to grow so rapidly that its legs can collapse under the weight of its ballooning body. It’s awful.” In other words, they’ve been bred to suffer.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for chickens. Sunday’s game is the perfect time to start a new tradition: one where we don’t force chickens to be history’s losers yet again, but rather, where we all win. Innovative companies like Gardein, Beyond Meat and Tofurky have a whole range of protein-packed, mouth-watering chicken-free wings, fingers and other favorites to try.

An ever-increasing number of Americans are choosing not to pump ourselves full of chickens’ wings. Instead, they’re following the “Three Rs”: “reducing” or “replacing” consumption of animal products, and “refining” their diets by switching to products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards.

You’ll be in good company if you choose to enjoy these plant based alternative to wings this Sunday. Even Cam Newton often chooses to get his protein from plants rather than birds.

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