A healthy hen is one who has a full body of shiny and fluffy feathers and an erect bright red comb. The comb is the on top of their head. These hens had bare bodies and floppy pale combs. How such unhealthy looking animals can lay healthy eggs is beyond me. How anyone would want to eat eggs from birds like these mystifies me. And yes I know they are cheap and so many are on a budget..... yada, yada, yada, yawn!
|Photo from LittleHill Animal Sanctuary|
As with everything in life, it's a question of priorities.
Then we come to the next animal reared in similar circumstances. The pig. Almost daily, pig transport lorries drive past my house and the stench lingers for ages afterwards. The pig is an incredibly clean animal. In a field it has a toilet area, a wallow area, a feeding area and each and every pig keeps a large circular area in front of their house undamaged. They don't root here, they don't use it as a toilet, they don't lie in it. I am convinced they do this in order to keep an area clean and dry as contrary to popular opinion they hate having wet dirty feet. I have seen piglets walk along under an electric fence rather than through a mucky patch.
Intensively reared pigs are forced to live in circumstances they would never live in by choice. So if these pigs are smeared in their own excrement in a transport lorry how can meat from these animals be healthy? The meat is infused with bacteria that you really do not want or need to eat. But you are advised to cook it well. Like all protein, overcooking makes it tough, dry and indigestible.
Treating meat animals badly is one thing. But even if you don't care about their welfare, surely you care about your own?
Most people if they thought about where the meat and the eggs they casually throw into their shopping trolley would be appalled. The vast majority probably consider themselves animal lovers and have pets at home. So why have double standards?
What you can do.
Ask in your local supermarket how free range that chicken is (free range by definition and by law is a very loose term open to exploitation). The more people who ask, the more the retailer will think. Customers have massive power. If only they realised it.
Ask why supermarkets don't sell free range pork and bacon. Ask this in your butchers as well. And if they try to pass off flabby, pale pork chops as free range tell them you know that genuinely free range pork is not pale in colour.
Ask in restaurants. After all they will be able to tell you what field your lump of steak came from.
Ask in cafes.
For this week alone just ask.