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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Caged chickens and hormones

If most of us thought about the conditions in which chickens used for meat and eggs are raised and slaughtered, we’d become vegetarian on the spot. Egg-laying chickens can be raised in cages with 6 chickens to a cage, each chicken getting only 67 square inches of space for its lifetime.

Unless they’re certified and labeled as being free-range or organic or natural, they might have been fed growth hormones to get them to slaughter faster, and antibiotics to combat the diseases which come from being raised in cramped and less-than-clean conditions.

And consider what the recommendations are for cleaning up after touching poultry? It’s recommended to clean surfaces with bleach to remove bacteria, and to wash your hands thoroughly after touching a chicken.

Do you really want to put something into your body that requires bleach to clean up after? Something that needs to be cooked to specific temperatures to be sure you’ve destroyed any bacteria that could make you sick?

Chickens and turkeys have become so mass-produced and injected with antibiotics and hormones that there’s no taste to it anymore, so why bother? Even the most humanely treated chicken has either been stunned in a salt-water brine before being beheaded. In John Robbins excellent book and video, Diet for a Small Planet, he shows us pictures of chickens being grabbed in groups by the neck and thrown into cages. Can you really consider eating a chicken with that vision in your head?

Any means of mass-producing animals for human consumption is by its very nature unhealthy and cruel for the animals, and unhealthy for humans as well. Even if you’re of the opinion that man is a natural hunter, how natural is it to eat an animal that’s been raised in captivity and fed a diet of hormones and antibiotics?

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