Thursday, September 24, 2009

The chicken factory:

Shane took this picture. I told him that this place was hidden away on a back road off a back road, but he was amazed at just how hidden. It certainly looks tidy. But to me, this is one of the most depressing pictures imaginable. I know what's happening to the creatures inside it. It's not the kind of relationship to living things that I can approve of.

We kept a small flock of chickens until a couple of years ago, when Cebah started to feel (at 87) that taking care of them in the winter, with ice and snow to walk on, was a little too dangerous for her. She kept, and milked daily, a beloved guernsey cow, until about 15 years ago, but that's another story...

The chickens had a chicken house to live in, and an open air pen to keep them safe, but during most of the day they were set free to roam around the yard, woods and garden catching bugs and worms, scratching in the dirt, etc. It was always fun to see them rush out of their pen and head for whatever took their fancy. it looked jubilant to me.

Well the chickens inside these "farm" factories never run anywhere. I bet they'd like to. Far away from a horribly overcrowded place where they live out short lives, never seeing the sun, confined so that the only thing they can do is eat and grow big enough to be slaughtered. My dad thought these were the ruination of farming, inhumane, and morally wrong. He was right.

Of course Cebah killed her chickens, one or more a week, often for sunday dinner. But at least they lived the best of chicken lives while they could, pampered and appreciated. They saw the sun. They could run.

If you eat chicken that isn't "free range" it comes from one of these factories. The story is the same with pigs and cows, maybe worse. In France it is illegal to sell meat raised this way, and it should be illegal here. In the meantime, I try to avoid meat that is produced this way. These secret factories of horror will continue until our society refuses to buy what they produce.

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