On the Menu Tonight (choose one):
- a) Baked Chicken with Arsenic Rub
- b) Chicken Prozac Nuggets
- c) Barbecued Benadryl Chicken Wings
- d) Chicken in White Wine and Banned Antibiotic Sauce
- e) Chicken & Caffeine Cutlets
Or you can have all these unique ingredients combined into one Tasty Nasty Delight. Actually, you can’t choose—the chicken’s on your plate and its pumped full of chemicals.
Why on Earth would anyone put all this crap into a chicken?
- Arsenic: This heavy metal and known carcinogen is used to combat infections and parasites and helps make a chicken’s flesh a “healthy-looking” pink color. Sickness is more prevalent on industrial farms.
- Prozac: Chickens that are sitting on top of each other in crowded spaces become stressed, and stressed chickens grow more slowly and have tougher meat. Maybe eating some drugged chicken will make you feel less depressed about this.
- Caffeine: Chickens get fat while they’re eating, so better to keep them awake all the time.
- Benadryl: Fired up chickens need to be calmed down.
- Antibiotics (even those that are banned): Without antibiotics, pathogens would run rampant on these factory farms where chickens are unnaturally squished together and pooping on each other. But these antibiotics, especially a class called fluoroquinolones, are breeding superbugs that have become resistant to antibiotics. Welcome to a world where antibiotics are less and less likely to cure your infection.
All these things are routinely fed to chickens for all the reasons above.
But it’s probably not in my Savory Chicken from my Trusted Supermarket, is it?
Researchers found arsenic in every single sample of feather meal tested. (Feathers are an accurate reflection of what’s in the animal). Over ninety percent of broiler chickens in the US had been fed arsenic back when these studies came out 5 years ago.
It’s hard to believe that so many farmers would willingly drug (and poison) their animals like this. Is this a conspiracy?
Yes, but not by farmers. Most US farmers contract with huge companies like Tyson and Perdue. The contract specifies that the farmer raise the chicken on its premises until it is ready to be slaughtered. But the contract also requires the farmer to feed its chickens a Proprietary Mix, and the farmers don’t get to know what’s in it. That’s why the Big Companies get away with it. And that’s what you get when you buy a conventional chicken.
Do you want an Unpoisoned, Unmedicated Chicken for dinner?
Then buy pastured. Pastured chickens are, hopefully, running around on a pasture eating grass, worms, and insects like they’re supposed to. The animals are happy and wholesome, have plenty of room, sunlight, and nutritious food, which means that it is nutritious for you (and your family) to eat. If you can’t find pastured, organic is next best. The chickens may be stuffed into pens, but their feed will be (or is supposed to be) organic and without meds. All chickens get some grains, but those given to organic and pastured chicken are not adulterated with chemicals. Your best bet is to find a local farm and get to know the person raising your chickens.
Yikes–my food bill just went up.
Yes, it’s more expensive to eat real food, but you get what you pay for and you are what you eat. Antibiotic-resistant infections, anyone? No, I didn’t think so.
p.s. Who did these studies? Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Center and several peer-reviewed journals including Science of the Total Environment and Environmental Science and Technology.