Originally published February 7 2009
Be Informed about Common Poultry Products
by Jo Hartley
(NaturalNews) Chickens on regular farms are treated inhumanely. Hens are confined to very small spaces and are subjected to high-intensity artificial light to simulate daylight hours. This increases egg production. These laying hens are also fed many different hormones and antibiotics to increase their production as well. It is important that consumers realize the background of the poultry products they are buying and consuming because there are serious ramifications for both the consumer and the animals in question.
Due to these inhumane treatments being disclosed to the public, more and more people are switching to consuming free range eggs instead. Their belief is that the hens that lay free range eggs are raised in better conditions and are healthier. Unfortunately, the common misconception is that eggs labeled "free range eggs" are actually "organically produced eggs." Free range eggs are more expensive than regular eggs and this has also led people to believe that they are a healthier product. A close inspection of the package will not indicate that this is true, however.
Furthermore, comparing a carton of organic eggs and a carton of free range eggs will result in another big difference in products. First of all, organic eggs are even more expensive than free range eggs. There is a reason for this price difference, though.
The USDA allows labeling eggs as "free range eggs" if they are from a farm that allows the hen access to an outside area for at least five minutes each day. Nowhere is it stipulated that the hen actually has to go outside; it only has to have the access to do so for at least five minutes in each 24 hour period. There are no stipulations about what the hens are fed or the use of hormones and antibiotics for laying chickens.
One may conclude that the USDA`s and the FDA`s primary concern is to protect the egg producing farms and farmers and their income rather than in protecting the interests of the American consumers. Not to mention the well-being of the laying hens!
These same USDA criteria are also applied to the chickens that are sold for food from the grocery stores. Unless chickens are labeled as organic, they are subjected to similar treatment and conditions as the laying hens.
A large number of animals that live in a confined area are a perfect environment for diseases to become rampant. The way that the farmers combat this situation is by using a large amount of antibiotics on the animals. Unfortunately, we now know that doing this over an extended period of time will cause the bacteria to mutate and become resistant to the antibiotics. Then when humans become infected with these same bacteria, many of the commonly prescribed antibiotics will no longer be effective because the bacteria are resistant to these treatment options.
The pharmaceutical companies have everything invested in this practice continuing. Bayer is the producer of the antibiotic Baytril. This is a pharmaceutical that is commonly used for treating chickens and it has similarities to the antibiotic Cipro. Bayer has reportedly been urged by the FDA to discontinue sale of Baytril to poultry farmers. Bayer is resisting this recommendation. They argue that if Baytril were withdrawn it would then be necessary for integral changes to be made in the entire US poultry system. Bayer has stated that more evidence showing the damage from these practices is necessary before they will consider withdrawing their products.
The lifespan of a laying hen today is two years and that short lifetime will be a disease-ridden one. Typically, these hens produce eggs prolifically during their first year of life but this is not normal. These hens are forced to grow abnormally fast and because of this they have a premature onset of egg laying during their first year. This premature egg laying happens because of hormones and antibiotics and it contributes to the hen`s shortened lifespan.
For those hens that do manage to continue to survive, the hormones and antibiotics eventually take their toll on the hens` livers. Liver cancer is common and these hens are often slaughtered before the cancer sets in and then these hens go on to become grocery store poultry.
Chickens that are raised naturally and fed a natural diet will begin laying eggs around their first birthday. Hens that are raised on hormones and antibiotics are usually worn out and stop laying by their first birthday. Hens raised organically have a lifespan that is approximately twice as long as hormone-fed chickens.
The best thing to do in the face of this information is to simply stop buying commercially produced chicken products. Organically produced eggs and chicken may cost more initially, but they also taste better and are infinitely healthier products. In the absence of effective laws that control how poultry is raised and produced, stopping the purchase of these products may be the only way to send a message that these methods are unacceptable.
About the authorJo Hartley
Wife, Mother of 8, and Grandmother of 2
Jo is a 41 year old home educator who has always gravitated toward a natural approach to life. She enjoys learning as much as possible about just about anything!
http://loftymatters.com - Current Events
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