Gourmet Magazine on Chicken Farming

Gourmet Magazine continues to surprise; after serving up shrimp on a platter it now offers us chicken. Daniel Zwerdling had a hard time writing his critique of the chicken industry; nobody would talk to him. He is thrilled with the growing interest in animal well-being (Smithfield getting rid of confinement pens, McDonald's demanding happy cows) but finds that people don't care much about chickens. After reading his story of the life of an industrial chicken, perhaps people will.

There is a carbon footprint to chickens; they move around a lot. The big companies deliver chicks to sheds in Arkansas and Georgia, then six weeks later they are picked up (not nicely) and taken to the slaughterhouse, dumped out, stunned by an electrical bath and sent towards a whirring blade. If the chicken is lucky it works, but it often doesn't and the chicken has a less satisfactory end. The industry says it is only two percent, but there are a lot of chickens, so that means 180 million American chickens suffer through botched slaughtering each year.What is so appalling is that it doesn't have to be this way. In Norway they do a very good job with "controlled atmosphere killing"- remove the oxygen and they just go unconscious and die painlessly. It doesn't even cost more, as it requires fewer workers and improves quality. It may even offer a competitive advantage; while KFC is dismissive, Burger King is "favouring suppliers who use the controlled atmosphere method".

Short summary of a good article in a magazine that is clearly adapting to the times, in the June ::Gourmet. They should put these online and find a new audience.