Tag Archives: chicken

Free Range Chickens

28 Jun

I want to say a few things about chickens, raised by this article: ‘Objections Raised over Free-Range Eggs Plan‘ from today’s Age newspaper.  First things first: the image in your mind about what constitutes ‘free-range’ is probably wrong.  Free-range chickens don’t look like the lovely happy chickens above, they are not in an environment which encourages them to undertake natural behaviors (like scratching around in the dirt).  Free-range chickens look like this (from the Advocacy for Animals site, full link below.)

Obviously, this doesn’t describe all free-range chickens – but the Pace Farm Free-Range (RSPCA certified) eggs from Safeway, those chickens look like this.  The vast majority of so-called ‘free range’ chickens do.  And, don’t be fooled about the ‘cage free’ certification on broiler (meat) chickens.  No broiler chickens here or anywhere else are kept in cages.

The point of the article is that they want to increase the number of chickens allowed in free-range classifications.  These birds already live in a space the size of an A4 piece of paper.  The majority of these chickens can’t reach the outdoors because they can’t reach the door.  This is due to vast overcrowding, injuries, lameness, mutations, deformation and disability.  Many of these chickens never, ever experience the outdoors, or anything which even closely approximates natural light.

The most disturbing thing I found in that article was this: ‘Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed supported beak-trimming if it reduced pecking and cannibalism.’  I wonder if those two-thirds of consumers watched a beak-trimming they would still support it.  Or, if they had their lips seared off with a red-hot blade whether they would think it was a good idea?!?

Have a quick flip through Behind The Myth: Cage Free Eggs, and Advocacy for Animals’ The Difficult Lives and Deaths of Factory-Farmed Chickens and think about whether you still feel comfortable with the propagation of such horrific treatment of these birds.

Meaty Revulsion

17 Jun

S and I had lunch at Southland earlier this week, and it reinforced how much I despise shopping center food courts.  It’s not having to question the ingredients of every dish – on the contrary, I am more than used to the ‘does this contain dairy?’ ‘is this made with vegetable stock?’ ‘can I have this made without cheese, please?’  It’s having to watch other people devour over cooked chicken without thinking about the animal behind their greasy fingers, or burgers that are so far removed from ‘natural’ food that you actually can’t equate what is in your hands with a cow being beaten with a steal pipe.  And, even if the cow that ends up in that particular burger wasn’t belted, what the burger represents is ‘the cow’ being beaten.  But, the very worst thing about it is adults feeding their children these things.  Young children who just don’t know better because they still believe what their mother tells them.  It’s just revolting.

Each day, my revulsion at meat, dairy and egg eaters gets worse and worse.  I turn away in disgust from people eating ham sandwiches.  It is actually starting to make me sick.

On a fairly unrelated note: I have recently finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  As many, many veg*ns have already read – or at least heard of – this book, I don’t want to say too much about it.  When I went up to purchase the book S and I were asked if we were already vegetarians, I replied that I was vegan and that S was vegetarian.  The bookstore lady told us that the book changes people.  I’ve no doubt that it has, would, will change people.  I suppose it did reinforce the beliefs that I already hold, but I find it odd that a number of (prior to reading the book) veg*ns have told me that reading this book has changed them.  Still, I think everyone should read it.  I would love my mum to read it.  People are just so resistant to anything they feel will force them to reevaluate their lifestyles.

But, reevaluation doesn’t stop.  After I read the article Can Meat Eaters Also Be Environmentalists? I was reminded that in terms of my responsibility to animals, just not eating them is not enough, and in terms of my responsibility to the environment, not eating animals or using animal products is not enough.  We should always strive to do more – encourage people to educate themselves and to cut animal produce out of their diets and lifestyles (whether that means ‘meatless mondays’, vegetarianism, veganism, or any other manifestation of decrease).  Not only that but we should remember that by eating over processed, non-local and over-chemical’d produce we may as well erase the good work we do by not eating animal products.

Be kind to the earth, be kind to animals, and don’t eat greasy chicken near me in a food court (actually, please just don’t eat chicken at all!)