Thursday, May 10, 2012

Former Factory Farm Insider and Her Chickens Now Taking a Stand

Carol's humane, free range farm
A friend of mine recently posted this fascinating interview with Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer formerly under contract with Perdue Farms. Carole and her husband lost their contract with Perdue shortly after opening up their farm to the camera crew of Food, Inc., stating on camera, “I’ve just made up my mind I’m gonna say what I have to say,”

Take the time to read the interview and learn from this former industry insider as she talks about the filthy, overcrowded conditions and outrageous practices of her factory-style farm that ultimately led her and her husband to start a humane, free range farm.

As I was reading her story, one particular statement really grabbed my attention.  When asked how industry demands affected her farm, she laments…

“Industry mixing and matching of breeds and genetics produces chickens that meet consumer demands, such as large breasts. Chickens which grow at such a rapid weight that they reach slaughter within six to seven weeks enable the companies to produce pounds of meat quickly. Watching these chickens grow to the point that they couldn’t take more than a few steps and then plop down in exhaustion or had bad legs because their bones couldn’t support the weight was normal. Many would flip over and die from heart attacks.”

Disturbed by her comments, I took some time to scour the web for articles to find out just how common this problem is.  I didn’t have to look far.  It turns out that there are thousands of sources documenting that broiler chickens, which are bred for fast growth, have a high incidence of leg deformities and pelvis problems, because they cannot support their own rapidly increasing body weight. As a result, many become lame or suffer from broken legs. The added weight also puts a strain on their hearts and lungs, causing millions of them to die from heart failure each year.  And this is not just a problem in the U.S.; in fact, it’s estimated that up to 19 million broiler chickens in the UK die in their sheds from heart failure annually.

You see, Big Poultry, in an attempt to maximize profits, has figured out a way to breed and feed chickens that causes many of them to grow so fast that they become lame or die of a heart attack – all in a 6 to 7 week period of time.  Not only is this disgracefully inhumane, but consider the fact that they are then selling these lame and diseased chickens to unsuspecting consumers. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to eat organically raised, pastured chickens that weren’t cooped up without access to their natural habitat or sunlight, then fed a diet that consists of 90% corn and soybeans (GMO, of course), and that were raised in such an unhealthy manner that they are literally just one step away from a heart attack!