Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Sunday night I ate part of a chicken from the store. My old hens are still frumping around the henyard but I've not taken the time to choose out one for dinner and the weather here is warm so I'm still hoping they will begin to lay. No luck so far.
When they raise chickens commercially, the birds are put into a heated, disinfected huge barn where they have access to drip waterers and endlessly full feeders. If they are organic chickens, the feeders are full of organic feed, conventional chickens eat conventionally grown feed.
Just like the chickens I show in the DVD, at four or five weeks the young birds are big enough to go outside. To become "free range" chickens, the operator of the chicken factory must open an access door big enough for a chicken to exit outside into a fenced yard.
But -- knowing chickens and having spent the time to train many young chickens to jump into and out of a henhouse at this stage, I know that they will never have gone outside.This is good for the farmer, if the chickens stay in their barn there is less chance for them to get a disease or parasites from the real world. So my chicken dinner had never seen sunshine, scratched for bugs or eaten fresh greens.
When it was slaughtered, the method used did not calm the chicken first. Terrified, it met its end on a conveyor belt, hanging helplessly and bleeding to death.
Whenever I eat one of these birds anytime after noon, I find myself unable to sleep. I wake up every two or three hours and after 4 a.m. I usually give up, get up and swear I will never eat another bought chicken. That's one big reason I raise my own birds -- when I eat one of them the result is chewy but doesn't keep me up at night.