Aloha and welcome back,
Before you read on I feel I have to reiterate that I am not trying to advocate, or discourage, any diet practices that my readers choose to make as I believe in free will. I also believe in education and that knowledge is power. I am trying to make this blog a “one stop shopping tool” for your dietary choices and nutritional needs in order to achieve optimal health. Remember, its all about you and your choices!
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This week we will examine your choices if you choose to eat chicken.
Many of the inhumane practices of the meat industry are too painful for me to post in depth. I have provided links for you to follow in order to get pictures and more detailed information on the subject if you choose to do so.
9 billion “broiler” (baby) chickens, males and females, are raised and killed in the United States each year for food. Worldwide, over 50 billion chickens are now being slaughtered every year. Just as in the beef stockyards, the factory farming of chickens, and the treatment therein, is alarming.
Genetic manipulation: A practice used to increase muscle tissue (meat) of the breast and thighs to make them larger and more appealing to consumers.
Crowded Conditions and Feed: Birds suffer from gastrointestinal and blood diseases, and chronic respiratory infections making the use of antibiotics a common occurrence. Arsenic has routinely been fed to poultry because it reduces infections and makes flesh an appetizing shade of pink.
For more information, please go to this link: http://www.upc-online.org/chickens/chickensbro.html
Debeaking: Because of the overcrowded conditions in factory farms, the inhumane practice of debeaking is employed to prevent the chickens from harm when attacking each other. Please go to: http://www.upc-online.org/debeaking/ for detailed information.
Free Range Chickens:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines free-range as allowing chickens to have some access to an outside area. The definition of free-range does not include specifications on how long chickens should remain outside, and, under what conditions. For instance, chickens can be outside on concrete for a short period of time each day and still be labeled as free-range in the grocery store.
In order to label chicken as free-range, producers must demonstrate through affidavits or testimonials that their poultry have free, continuous access to the outdoors for more than half of their lives.
Important: To ensure that you are purchasing meat and eggs from free-range chickens that foraged on grubs and plants in a natural environment, look for wording on the packaging that says that the chickens were pastured, or the package has an “Animal Welfare Approved” label. This lable is which is issued by a nonprofit watchdog group. You can also buy from a local farmer who can guarantee the chickens ranged on pasture for a majority time of each day.
Cage-Free: Chickens raised for meat were not kept in cages within a warehouse. Cage-free does not mean that chickens have access to outside areas.
Organic Certification: Organic chicken must be fed only certified organic feed which is grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticidesnfrom the time they are two days old. They may not receive hormones or antibiotics at any time, though they may receive vaccinations to prevent common disease. They may be kept inside temporarily for specific purposes like medical treatment or to protect the quality of soil or water. They must be given reasonable access to the outdoors.
Know that some organic standards are also in question. Please follow this link for more information: http://www.upc-online.org/organic/
Next week we will take a look at other regulations and choices you have when making decisions about your diet. Stay tuned, stay informed.