Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Chickens?

You have never seen happiness, until you have seen a chicken taking a dirt bath. They make low clucking noises as they flop to and fro with their eyes rolled up into their heads. (Have you ever scratched a cat [or dog I guess] behind the ears in the "good" spot? That's the look.) Even when we go outside and drop a favored treat on the ground- the hens won't even see it if they are all hopped up on dirt...

It really is not difficult to make a chicken happy- they just need to roll in dirt, and scratch. That's pretty much it. This brings me to a more uncomfortable subject... although we have pet chickens that are the coolest, funniest animals ever, -we are not vegetarians. In fact, we do eat chicken. This horrifies our cute little artist/vegan neighbors- but the fact of the matter is that I have a very hard time staying healthy and active (not to mention growing my wrist bone back) without some protein.

Now I'm not going to shock and traumatize anyone with what really goes on in the commercial chicken industry- but I will tell you that there are no animal cruelty laws for chickens (there are for every other commercial animals). And I will say that the reality of life for a commercially raised chicken, is ugly. Really ugly. We intentionally ignore where our food comes from because it is traumatic,, and I think that is a bit irresponsible. Just because chickens are food animals, do they really deserve to live painful, joy-free existences just because American farming is dedicated to keeping KFC & McDonalds in business?

Of course, because I grew up with chickens and know what friendly goofy animals they are, I have been buying free range organic eggs/meat since I started shopping for myself, (it started with a concern for hormone and antibiotic injections, but then I learned a little more).

Lorraine agreed to this policy immediately, even though financially, it was not always the easiest choice. Of course, now that we have chickens ourselves, Lorraine has taken it a step further, and has figured out where to buy chicken that is not only free range organic, but a breed that is able to walk on its own, and is allowed to graze (and roll in the dirt). Check it out:

It's is a local farm- and they sell their pastured eggs/meat at nearly every farmers market in Seattle, as well as at many grocery stores. I just don't think that it is foolish or sentimental to appreciate where your food comes from. Not to mention the well known fact that well-treated grazing animals taste WAY better than the alternative. Americans in particular it seems, are simply far too skilled at ignoring unpleasant truths in favor of convenience and comfort...

1 comment:

Bob Fortuna said...

Right on sister! Adam & I need find a ranch like that around here.
Please do not listen to your ninny friends who try to make you feel guilty for eating meat. It's absurd. It's not as if we are killing our own chickens, as are many farmers, who are made out of tougher stuff than you or I. Just because you decide to raise pet chickens does not mean you hafta shave your head, throw on an orange robe & carry a broom with you to sweep the bugs out of the way so you don't step on them. That is the end of my rant. thanks for listening.