Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Support Chickens

Did you know?  September is National Chicken Month!

Whether you do or don't consume chicken, you may be interested in raising awareness about the welfare of these animals.  It's important not only for the chicken's "chickenness" but also for the consumers who eat these animals.  Recent findings show that consumers distrust the chicken industry, and for good reasons.

This video very briefly summarizes the problems with modern-day factory farm practices:

PETA outlines--with disturbing images--the horrible practices of chicken farming in the U.S.  The answer for many--including myself, for two years--is to simply avoid eating chicken.

However, if you wish to continue consuming poultry while keeping the animal's (and your!) health in mind, there are things you can do!  In an ideal world, we'd all be in close reach of a farm we could rely on to properly raise our poultry for us (like Polyface Farm) , but that's not always an option.  Even when shopping at supermarkets, there are things you can do and look for!

Visit TruthAboutChicken.Org to tell your local supermarkets that you want more humanely raised chicken!  If consumers demand it, stores just may make the extra effort to provide it.

Then, wise up on some of the labels to look for!

Meaningless labels: The following labels are not clearly defined or regulated, so don't rely on these too much when shopping for poultry.

  • "Humanely Raised/Humanely Handled"
  • "Natural/Naturally Raised/All-Natural"
  • "Hormone-free"
  • "Pasture-raised/Pasture-grown" 

The label I specifically avoid when buying poultry or eggs: "Vegetarian-fed" or "Grain-fed". Chickens are omnivores.  In addition to grass, herbs, vegetables, and fruit, they also eat insects and even larger animals!  In fact, they'll eat just about anything they can.  These scavengers don't discriminate, and are certainly not vegetarians.  So when producers of poultry and egg products boast that their chickens are "vegetarian-fed"... I shake my head. This may cheap for the producers but does NOT reflect a chicken's natural diet, and so that producer is not one I wish to support. 

Labels to look for: 
  • Certified Humane
  • Global Animal Partnership (GAP), Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 5+ (The higher, the better)
Learn more about all labels and their meanings here

Dare you to... consider the conditions in which your poultry was raised, dig a little deeper to explore these labels, and spread the word about improving conditions of chickens in America 

I'm still learning, myself, so if YOU have any insights or suggestions on trustworthy labels that guarantee humane and sanitary practices for raising poultry, please let me know in the comments

Happy National Chicken Month! 

1 comment:

  1. If we had a yard, we'd probably be raising chickens, haha. luckily we ARE really close to Polyface farms, so that's where we get all of our meat (I don't eat it, but Alex will eat meat as long as it's ethically and sustainably raised). We're also fortunate to get all of our eggs from a local farmer!

    Great seeing you last night!! :)


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