Are You Eating Healthy Meats or
Factory-Farmed Meat? The Truth about Factory Raised Chickens, Turkey, Fish and Veal: Part Two
Eating healthy meats should seem like an easy task; however it is not as easy as you think.
If you buy your meat from the supermarket or the local butcher, then here is a little information about what happens
to the animals, before they become the so-called healthy meats that you are eating.
I say so called healthy, because there is a mass of information that states the direct opposite. Organic produce,
whether it is meats, eggs or fruit and vegetables are so much healthier and there is not the barbaric treatment of
the animals that is discussed in this article.
Laying hens in the U.S. are effectively treated as laying machines. In fact I am sure these factory farm owners
probably treat their machinery better than they treat the laying hens.
In factories all over the U.S. there are small cages made out of wire, stacked in rows and tiers, much the same way boxes are
stacked in a warehouse. These cages contain approximately 300 million egg-laying hens. Surely you would think that
is not legal; however the USDA condones and supports this practice. According to them four hens can live in a cage
that is just sixteen inches wide, as long as they have access to four inches of the feeder, it is all above board.
Forget the normal behavior patterns and movement patterns of the hens. In these conditions their wings and legs cannot stretch. Constant rubbing on the cage results in bruises, severe loss of the birds feathers, and cuts and abrasions.
So as the hens do not peck at each other, there is a practice called debeaking, whereby the hens are subjected to the torture of having a portion of their
beaks cut off. It is extremely painful procedure because this involves cutting through soft tissue, bone and cartilage. Just to
make sure that the hens lay as many eggs as is physically possible, for the lowest possible price.
By the time a hen becomes classified as a “spent hen”, and discarded it would have laid approximately
two-hundred and fifty eggs per year. Their bodies are effectively worn out from this effort. There are a number of industry terms that
are used to describe the conditions of a hen as it basically curls up and dies. “Fatty Liver Syndrome” is
when the liver cells start to break down and accumulate extra fat. This is caused by the liver having to work overtime
producing fat and proteins for the egg yolks and it simply cannot keep up.
“Cage Layer Fatigue” and “egg bound” are terms that are used when the hen becomes too weak and
warn out to survive and dies.
Osteoporosis is very common in the hens in these factories. Basically the amount of calcium that a hen needs to
produce to create the shells on the massive amount of eggs that are being produced mean that they cannot create enough
calcium for their own bones. The lack of calcium leads to broken bones, paralysis, malformation and ultimately death.
After around a year and 250 eggs the hens become “spent hens” and are then slaughtered, if they are still
alive by the time they actually reach the slaughter. The calcium depleted, used up bodies are so weak and brittle
they often die before they can be slaughtered; ending up as low grade chicken meat for soups, pies and the other
chicken products that you find in the freezers etc.; so as to hide the state of the bodies from the general public.
That’s the story of the hens, there is another side to this story and that is the male chickens that are born into
this environment. For every hen that is born and put into production there is a male that has no place in an egg
Essentially they are killed, then and there. They are too small to be sold as meat, so they need to be discarded,
usually by the most efficient and economic way possibly. There are a number of different ways this can happen, the
first being simply throwing them in the bin. As soon as they are born and discovered not to be of value they are
thrown into a bin, usually by the thousands. They then suffocate and crush each other to death.
The other common method of removing these lovely little creatures from the face the earth is to grind them up when they are alive. These male chicks are discarded because they have no value as meat, so where does the chicken meat actually come
Genetically altered, hormone fed monsters is what the modern broiler or meat chickens can be described as. Many
of them twice as large as normal; with 100’s of millions of them, each year, not even surviving to reach the slaughter
age of 6 weeks.
Modern broiler chickens experience a huge number of diseases and crippling injuries resulting in premature death.
Many have crippling leg problems, as the legs cannot support the massive weight that comes with the altered size.
Kept in disease ridden, unsanitary factory farms many die from infectious diseases, cancer and even heat exhaustion.
One industry journal commented how broiler chickens grow so quickly that it causes their lungs and heart to keep from developing the way they should in a healthy chicken. This causes their body’s to lack support, and results in congestive heart failure which leads to incredible amount of loss due to death.
Turkeys are no different; in fact it is a little worse for them. They too are genetically altered and severely malformed
resulting in injuries and a host of other problems.
It is not enough for turkeys to just be large; they have to be large in the right places. Because of the demand
from consumers for turkey breast meat, they have been genetically altered to grow exceptionally large breast to fulfill
this need. Because of this abnormal size, they are not capable of reproducing naturally, so it is all done with artificial
Their huge and heavy bodies create a host of other problem as one industry journal reports that turkeys grow faster than their skeletons can keep pace, and their extra weight causes ‘cowboy legs’. Turkeys already have problems due to their proportions with standing and easily fall to be trampled upon or they try to seek refuge by hiding under their feeders which leads to bruising. This leads to birds being killed or culled.
But it is not just on land where this kind of treatment occurs. The fish that we are buying are not all caught out
at sea by the third generation fisherman in a boat at the crack of dawn. We now have Fish Farms so that we can have
more fish, cheaper and easier, but most certainly not healthier.
In an FDA veterinarian article it explains how fish farmers “use chemicals as disinfectants and to kill bacteria;
herbicides to prevent the overgrowth of vegetation in ponds; vaccines to fight certain diseases; and drugs – usually
combined in the feed – to treat diseases and parasites.” Food Chemical news explains that “access to spawning
and production hormones is one of the ‘essential and critical’ needs of the U.S. aquaculture industry,”
Overcrowding, filthy excrement laden water, chemicals and waste products create havoc in the coastal areas in which
they operate. It pollutes and destroys a vast amount of estuaries and marine environments every year.
This is quite a damming article of modern factory farming, but theres something that is even a little worse than
what you have read so far and that is the production of Veal.
Veal is essentially a waste product of the dairy industry. In order for cows to produce milk, as with any mammal,
they must give birth to trigger the production. Cows that are born are put back into the system as milk producers,
but the male calves are dragged from their mothers within moments and used in the production of Veal.
Pushed into trucks, often in shock and weak, they are trampled on, kicked and when they can no longer walk they
are dragged by their legs or ears to get them to auction rings, so they can be sold and transported again.
There are around 1 million subjected to this treatment every year. They are kept in crates that are 2 feet wide,
chained by the neck to prevent them from moving, or even laying down; kept still in order to make sure that the Veal
is going to be nice and tender when it hits the table.
Research indicates that these animals require a staggering 5 times more medication than is natural. The drugs that
are still in the meat when consumed pose a huge threat to human health.
Being kept in crates of this size cause not only physical damage in terms of crippling leg injuries and malformations,
joint disorders and an impaired ability to walk there are also mental disorders. Behaviors such as head tossing,
scratching, kicking and shaking are common for these young calves
Calves are not fed wheat and grain; they are only given an all-liquid diet of a milk-substitute, not even real milk.
To produce the “special fed”, “milk fed” and fancy Veal, these animals are slaughtered at approximately
16 weeks of age, to get that nice “white” veal.
Almost seeming to be more humane than this is the practice of slaughtering the animals when they are just hours
or days old. This produces what is known as “bob” veal. All this is to discard a waste product as well
as make a lot of money.
Veal is a non-essential and unnatural meat to eat. It is produced in a barbaric and inhumane way. This practice
needs to be stopped, as does all factory farming. It is not healthy, it is not humane and it is simply not worth
Eating healthy meats should seem like an easy task; however it is not as easy as you think. In order to eat healthier
meat, and help stop these practices you really should consider eating organic. Not only is it better for you, and
the animal has a much better life, it also tastes better. Reduce the demand for the factory farms produce and they
will have to change.
Here are several more organizations that are fighting to outlaw factory farming:
- http://www.pigspease.org/articles/factory.html (click on factory farms pigs)
- http://www.hfa.org/factory/index.html (click on factory farming)
Go back to > Part One
The contents of this article are courtesy of: GHS
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