Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fat chickens raised for Perdue spend brief lives sitting in feces

Editor's note: Two magazine articles caught my eye, one from Consumer Reports on whether Perdue chickens are raised humanely, and the other from AARP The Magazine, which recommends seniors gorge on ham, cheese, fried eggs and beef meatballs on vacation in Holland.


One of the most shocking images in a YouTube farm video are overweight chickens that have grown too big to stand and spend much of their brief lives sitting in feces, rubbing themselves raw in some cases.

The March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports says Craig Watts, a chicken farmer in Fairmount, N.C., objected to Perdue's claims of humane treatment, and invited an animal welfare group to film inside his chicken house.

"Watts is familiar with the standards of the country's fourth-largest chicken producer," the magazine reports. "He raises about 720,000 birds for it each year in facilities approved by Perdue and the USDA Processing Verified program.

"The result is a video that shows what appear to be thousands of birds crammed in the dark, gasping for air and weighed down by unnaturally large breasts [from the antibiotics administered to the chicks supplied by Perdue, this after only 37 days]."

The litter they sit in, according to the video, contains the accumulated feces of tens of thousands of chickens, and isn't changed between flocks.

The video went live on Dec. 3, and has reached more than 1.5 million viewers.

Eating your way to poor health

The December 2014/January 2015 issue of AARP The Magazine has an upbeat feature on a young couple who produce, a guide to eating around the world.

But the Dutch food the couple sample in Amsterdam is filled with the calories and artery clogging cholesterol many of the seniors who read the magazine are trying mightily to avoid.

They might want to rename their Web site, Eat Your Way Into a Hospital.

First, Laura Siciliano-Rosen and photographer Scott B. Rosen recommend a cure for jet lag: A "massive open-face ham, cheese and fried-egg sandwich."   

Then, they suggest a Gouda cheese sandwich on crusty bread "slathered in butter."

They finally sample some healthy herring, but then finish with "gravy-doused beef meatballs."

The headline for the article on Page 68 is "Our Dutch Treat."

It could be, "Trick or Treat."

I can't imagine what the editors were thinking when they picked this article for AARP The Magazine.

Certainly, not the health of their aging readers.

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