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Is Chicken Healthy; Think Again!!

Are you the one who hopes that animals raised for food must be treated well ?Tell you what? Sick or dead animals would be of no use to animal farming because that’s Business too.

Enter the world of Factory Farms a.k.a Broilers… The birds raised for meat, called “broilers” by the industry, are the product of genetic manipulation that has drastically increased breast and thigh tissue (the most popular parts of the animal) and produced a very rapid growth rate that outstrips the development of their legs and organs.

Chicken consumption has consequently risen dramatically over the last few decades as more and more people make the switch. How many of you believe that chicken, especially the breast of the chicken, is healthier to eat than “red meat.”?

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”– The Dalai Lama

Lifespan
A healthy free-range chicken can have a lifespan around 5-7years. Typically, most breeds of chickens mature at about 6 months of age. This is when their bone structure has reached ‘adult’ proportions, and when hens begin to lay eggs. However, they will continue to put on weight and fill out until close to 18 months.
Broiler chickens have been bred specifically for fast growth and weight gain to supply the food market. These chickens will reach a target of 2-3kgs in an average of 45 days.
They gain up to 100 grams per day, which is over five times that of a normal chicken), they are often unable to walk well, and often suffer fatal heart attacks during the period of most rapid growth. They needn’t be killed as they are weak, dehydrated and extremely obese choosing death to be served as a meal in our plates.

Eggs
Chickens are either bred for meat (“broilers”) or for eggs (“layers”). These
birds are held in battery cages which cause severe discomfort and foot deformation. The layer hens are subjected to constant light to encourage greater egg production.
At the end of their laying cycle they  are either slaughtered or forced to molt by water and food deprivation, which shocks them into another layer cycle. Many birds become depleted of minerals because of this excessive  egg production and either die from fatigue or can no longer produce eggs and are sent to the slaughterhouse.

Meat Production
Genetic engineering of broiler chickens and turkeys often results in a bird too heavy to stand or walk. They suffer from pain in their legs and sores on their feet that are induced by their extreme, unnatural size. Thousands of these birds never make it to slaughter — they will die while still on the farm from injuries, disease, or their inability to reach food and water. An honest look at the nutritional value of chicken reveals that chicken meat is not low in fat, and “not even close.
Also, the combination of fat, protein and carcinogens found in cooked chicken creates troubling risks for colon cancer. Factory raised chicken not only gives you a load of fat you don’t want, it’s Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) are potent carcinogens produced from creatine, amino acids and sugars in poultry and other meats during cooking. These same chemicals are found in tobacco smoke and are fifteen times more concentrated in grilled chicken than beef.

Alternative
There is more to grieve on this issue as the list of torture and its impact on our health is endless. However, the agenda is to Bewell so let me suggest the alternatives; If you do purchase poultry products, buy them from a health food store or natural foods co-op and purchase only products produced on organic farms. While organic farming does not necessarily mean animals are treated humanely, it is better than factory farming, which can never be “organic.”

Trivia

  • Many people do not realize that chickens are inquisitive, interesting animals who are as intelligent as mammals such as cats, dogs, and even some primates. They are very social and like to spend their days together, scratching for food, taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and lying in the sun.
  • Enter a typical chicken shed and you will experience a burning feeling in your eyes and your lungs.  That’s the ammonia – it comes from the birds’ droppings, which are simply allowed to pile up on the floor, without being cleaned out, not merely during the growing period of each flock, but typically for an entire year, and sometimes for several years. High ammonia levels give the birds chronic respiratory disease and it affects us directly ..
  • To encourage the newly-hatched birds to eat constantly, the lights are at first kept on 24 hours a day.  Chicks who would normally be sleeping under their mothers’ wings for part of the day and all of the night.
  • Artificial light is also opted to increase egg production hours. A decrease in daylight hours will also decrease egg production.
  • Eggs are the byproduct of a chicken’s “menstrual” cycle. If fertilized, they would produce baby chicks.
  • Is cage-free any better? No, not really. Cage-free just means that the chickens are allowed access to the outside. Eggs can be called cage free if the outside access is a tiny door, and even if there is a tiny area outside that could never hold as many chickens are as in the barn.
  • Chickens in factory farms are sometimes fed coffee pulp and green tea powder to keep them awake so that they can spend more time eating.
  • Arsenic has routinely been fed to poultry in factories because it reduces infections and makes flesh an appetizing shade of pink.
  • A typical stocking density for broiler chickens is equivalent to around 17–20 birds per square meter as they approach slaughter weight, i.e. a space allowance of less than one A4 sheet of paper per chicken
  • Two-thirds of grocery-store chicken contains bacteria resistant to some of the most common classes of antibiotics.

As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” But getting good food could be one of the most important things we do to keep ourselves in good health. You can pay a cheaper supermarket bill today and pay more to your doctor later. I want to remind you once again,You are what you; ideally you are about what they eat…
Everything we buy as consumers brings consequences. Can we make decisions to be more health conscious and humane?

BeWell,
Vivek

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