I want to thank Cecil Casterelli for his recent letter pointing out how cruel our society is with regard to farm animals.
I will limit this letter to chickens. When it comes to causing health problems, few foods are worse than chicken. That’s a surprising thought, of course. Chicken has long been regarded as a healthier alternative to red meat. But it presents huge problems.
There is about the same amount of fat and cholesterol in chicken as in beef. Removing the skin helps only marginally. Most of the fat is in the meat itself. Four ounces of beef and 4 ounces of chicken both contain approximately 100 milligrams of
artery-clogging cholesterol which contributes to heart disease.
Chicken is also the largest source of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines in the American diet.
As chickens are slaughtered, feces splatter from one bird to another. The fecal material collects in the water baths designed to cool the carcasses. When chicken juice spills out of the package onto your kitchen counter, it is good to remember that chickens don’t have juice. What you are wiping up with your sponge is a mixture of cooling water and dung. And a good bit more of that dung remains in the meat itself, soaked up like a sponge as it passed through the chill tank. Cooking chicken does not remove the feces, which may contain round worms, hair worms and tape worms.
These same bacteria are often spread to cattle, because chicken farmers struggling to get rid of the accumulating manure in their sheds feed it to cattle.
Chickens are slaughtered at between six and eight weeks of age, decapitated at speeds of 140 to 175 birds per minute.
As Cecil Casterelli stated in his letter, most humans wouldn’t dream of treating their dogs and cats the way factory farmers treat farm animals. Both species experience the same pain, joy and fear. There is no justification for raising chickens in crowded sheds reeking of ammonia.
We have personal choices, and we can go vegan to combat climate change or to clean out our clogged arteries, or, we can do so because it is simply wrong to cause this outrageous suffering and misery to other beings.