factory farms

Chicken on Sundays

“I can’t begin to fathom that” was SaveTheWorld‘s response when I was telling her how things were when I was a kid.

Lucy in the nest box.

Lucy in the nest box.

The conversation actually started when she asked me how my day at work was.

“It was pretty funny” I told her. The new woman was asking me about being a vegetarian. “If you don’t eat meat, what do you eat? I mean, meat is like the main part of every meal. I can’t imagine life without it.”
So I proceeded to tell her some of the dishes we prepare.

“Oh now that sounds pretty good.” she responded, “Actually, really good. I think I could become a vegetarian. I don’t like to think about what I’m eating and where it comes from. I can’t buy a whole chicken. At Thanksgiving my husband has to carve the meat off the turkey and put the carcass back in the oven before I can sit down to eat. If I saw the whole thing I wouldn’t be able to eat any of it.”

Robin and Cheesey

Robin and Cheesey

“That’s pretty funny,” STW said, “I bet if she met our chickens, or worse, knew about factory farms, that would put her over the edge.”

“Yes, it probably would. I’m not going to tell her though. I don’t bring things up unless someone asks me. Some people get very defensive when you talk about food. I will say those practices sure did get the price of chicken down though. When I was a kid, chicken was so expensive we only ate it on Sundays. Even then, the carcass would be tossed into a pot and used for soup or stew. Nothing went to waste, we couldn’t afford it. Monday through Thursday and Saturday were beef or pork. Of course, on Fridays we ate fish. But chicken, that was the long awaited treat.”

Sassy

Sassy

“I can’t begin to fathom that” she said, “I can’t imagine chicken costing more than beef. I don’t think it has been my whole life. You know what’s going to be interesting,” she continued, “is to see what happens with Sprout.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, he’ll be spending time here as he grows up. He’s already seen the Ladies. Next summer he’ll be big enough to hold one. What’s he going to think?”

“Oh, you may be right. I know a number of seniors who don’t eat chicken because they grew up with them. And he’ll be exposed to people who don’t eat meat at all. Hmmm, maybe his chicken on Sundays will be a visit to see the Ladies.”

Treats from the Ladies.

Treats from the Ladies.

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The Pig and the Corn Maze, Pt. 1

It was years ago, when SaveTheWorld was still in elementary school, that a local farmer decided to grow a corn maze.
In the fall we’d take her and a friend there just for fun and to see if we could find our way through.

Now let me admit up front that my sense of direction is so bad, that I got lost in a Ladies Room once. More on that at another time.

Fortunately for us they had a wonderful dog who knew the maze, and if you got lost all you had to do was call her name and she’d come and lead you out.

piglet -credit Vegan Soapbox

Things went well for this farming family and they soon were selling pumpkins and added a small petting zoo.
A piglet became quite the attraction, as she could solve the maze even faster than the dog.

Sometimes I think the kids would get lost intentionally, just to call the pig’s name and have her come to rescue them.

Eventually STW and her friend outgrew the fun, and a few years went by before Mandolin happened to stop by the farm.
He noticed the now fully grown pig in a penned area, and Mandolin asked the farmer how things were going.

The farmer related this story:
“We keep her with the other petting animals now…” he said, “because the strangest thing happened. A family came by and all was well until the father took a step near the pig. She went nuts” he said, “snorting and squealing like we’ve never seen her do before.
I apologized to him” the farmer continued, “I have no idea why she’s acting that way.” I said.

“I do.” the man replied, “I work in a slaughterhouse. She can sense it.”

Now you may be thinking- ‘Cute story GJ, but why are you telling us? Do I even want to read part 2?’ Hmm? Do I?

The answer is- I’m telling you for a really good reason and Part 2 won’t be all gory and those poor animals and stuff, I promise.

Trust me, it’s important.

Photo courtesy of Wealth of WOW via Vegan Soapbox.

Categories: factory farms, you are what you eat

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Eat Sh*t and Die -pt. 2

backyard chickens

two of my ladies

Read Part 1
Picture this:
Put a chicken in a cage that is so small that she cannot even flap her wings.
Make a row of these cages, side by side, down the length of a huge ‘barn’ (more of a factory than an actual barn.)
Now, make more of these rows, cage to cage, until most of the floor is covered.

“So what?” you might be thinking, but we’re not done.

Next, stack cages on top going up as high as you can, row after row.
100′s of 1000′s of cages.

“Now wait a minute” you might say- “You told me not to put my tomatoes too close together, as it will encourage disease. Wouldn’t the same thing happen to these chickens?”

Yepper… it does.
The solution: Factory Farmed chickens (the ones in cages are the egg layers) are force fed antibiotics- whether they are sick or not, as without it they would all get sick.
Some of them still do anyway.

“Alright- now just hold on…” you might continue, ” my own Doctor won’t give me antibiotics unless it’s needed, certainly not for any ‘just in case’ kind of deal.”

You’re right.
There’s a reason antibiotics aren’t sold over the counter like aspirin.
If we took them too often, the bugs that make us sick would mutate until the antibiotics no longer killed them off.
It’s survival, and micororganisms are good at it.

“But then, wouldn’t the same thing happen to the chickens?”

Bingo.
And it is happening.

Factory Farmers feed so many antibiotics to their poultry that they need to change what and how much they give them on a regular basis to keep the animals alive.

But here’s the worst part, the “Die” part:
-Because the birds are fed these antibiotics regularly, the bugs that make them sick are mutating faster than they otherwise would.
-Influenza, the bugs that give us ‘the flu’ are carried by birds, usualy they are found in large flocks of birds that are in close quarters. When this flu mutates so that it can readily be transmitted from birds to human, many of us will die.
Very many.

Read this excerpt from the Center for Disease Control, linked below:
“There is little pre-existing natural immunity to H5N1 virus infection in the human population. If H5N1 viruses gain the ability for efficient and sustained transmission among humans, an influenza pandemic could result, with potentially high rates of illness and death worldwide.”

So now you know some of what is going on.

“It’s always possible to wake someone from sleep, but no amount of noise will wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.” — Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)

I highly suggest you read the book “Eating Animals” – it is a compelling, wonderfully written hands-on account of what is happening to our sources of meat, and how this affects everyone.

Don’t pretend to be asleep- your life may depend on it.

What you can do
The current H5N1 Avain Flu Pandemic possibilities
Change does happen

Categories: factory farms, you are what you eat

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Eat Sh*t and Die -pt. 1

baby chicks

these are the lucky ones

When I was growing up in the 60′s, we only ate chicken on Sundays.
Beef or pork during the week, fish (of course) on Fridays-
For chicken we had to wait.

Why? It was too expensive.
“Hard for me to even fathom” SaveTheWorld said recently, when I was telling her this.
“Now it’s so cheap.”

How could this have happened?
Simply put, Factory Farms.

Picture this:
A Factory Farmed chicken (and turkey) raised for meat is given the minimum amount of room and food it needs to grow, and has been bred to grow as fast as possible.

I won’t get into the details of this now; but after a short, painful and gross life- they’re off to the slaughterhouse.

I’ll not tell you some of the horrible things I have read that happen to many of these birds, I’ll let you know how to get the rest of the story.
For now, I want to address one part of the blog title- “Eat Sh*t”

The way in which these birds are ‘processed’ causes them to end up with fecal matter in their body cavities.

Prior to packaging, each of these birds gets put into a water bath fondly known as ‘Fecal Soup.’

It varies, but up to 11% of their weight can be absorbed from this infested water- just look on the label, it’s there.

fecal soup

absorbed water is not the whole story

Let me just mention here that this is not necessary- but this water adds weight.

Weight=Money, and money is what it’s all about.

It is after all, and foremost, a business.

dirty water

Let’s think about it.
The correct portion for a serving of meat is 3 oz.

In this country, we consume closer to 5 oz. at a sitting.

Say you eat chicken or turkey 4 times each week, maybe twice for lunch and twice for dinner

20 oz. x 11% = 2.2 oz. x 52 weeks=you may be consuming about 14 1/3 cups of fecal water each year.

Eewww.

A friend of mine asked, “Does that include the name brand chicken? Aren’t they better?”
Au contraire- they are some of the worst offenders.

So, when you take your kids through the drive-thru for nuggets, you are feeding them Sh*t.
Or, maybe you like your Sh*t with a side of cole slaw and a biscuit?

I must say here that this isn’t all the farmers fault at all- they’d argue that they are just trying to make a living meeting the demand for meat this country, and the world, insists on.
Don’t buy it.

I mean, literally- don’t buy it.

If we bring down the demand, the farmers won’t need to produce the meat this way.
Actually, they don’t need to produce it this way.
It’s just cheaper.

Buy from a local farmer if you can, or eat less.

If enough of us work for change, change will come.
We don’t have to Eat this Sh*t anymore.

Read more- you really need to know the truth:
Eat Sh*t and Die, pt. 2
Chicken Fecal Soup
Time Magazine on Fecal Soup
Find a Local Poulrty Farm
Meat Prices and Consumption over 25 Years

Categories: factory farms, you are what you eat

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