Would you eat this chicken?

Caged, stressed laying hens

Caged, stressed laying hens

by Catherine Haug, May 13, 2015 (Photo, right, from WSPA (5)

Includes: 1. Would you eat this chicken? 2. What about eggs?

Would you eat this chicken? If you buy chicken from your favorite supermarket, discount grocery chain, or most of the fast food chains around the country, you already are (eating this chicken).

NOTE: a popular brand in the Flathead is Foster Farms, which has several farms in Washington State. This brand utilizes the CAFO method (Confinement Animal Feeding Operation) as described in this posting. See also The EssentiiaList: Foster Farms chicken and salmonella outbreak (Oct 2013 posting).

Craig Watts, a chicken farmer contracted by Perdue, invited a film crew for Compassion USA (3) to see how he is forced to raise his birds if he wants their contract. I warn you, this 5 minute film is very upsetting. Keep it away from children.

After watching this film (1), ask your supermarket for Better Chicken (see ciwf.com (2) and second video below).


This type of livestock farming is known as CAFO (Confinement Animal Feeding Operation), and is common in the food industry for more than just chicken. It also includes turkey, beef and hogs, and others. Even if the meat is labeled ‘all natural,’ it may still be raise inhumanely.

The big chicken brands, Tyson and Perdue, are under pressure (by big fast food chains such as McDonalds) to remove antibiotics from their chickens’ diet. But removing the antibiotics doesn’t mean the animals are ‘all natural.’ They are still raised in crowded, filthy, overly hot conditions, and fed a food that is unnatural for them, one that is likely GMO. They are never allowed to see the light of day, and are often treated cruelly by their ‘caretakers.’

Think seriously about the food you eat. Buy from a local farmer you trust. Buy Organic. And support the Better Chicken Initiative; see 2 minute video, below. (4)

What about eggs?

Most commercial egg brands are from hens kept in similar crowded conditions as those raised for their meet, except laying hens are kept in cages so small the hens cannot turn around. So-called ‘cage free’ eggs are hardly better; the barns are still deprived of sunlight and fresh air, and are likely as crowded and filthy as where chickens are raised for their meat.

‘Free range’ is also often a stretch: the barn has one small door to a small outdoor yard; 90% (or more) of the hens inside never make it through the door or into the crowded yard.

Your best bet is to buy eggs from a local farmer who keeps hens for his own family’s needs and sells a few on the side. If that is not available to you, your next best option is Organic Eggs.

See also:


  1. YouTube video (https://youtube.com/watch?t=286&v=YE9l94b3x9U)
  2. better-chicken.org
  3. Compassion USA (ciwf.com/our-story)
  4. Better Chicken Initiative (https://youtube.com/watch?v=fExnqBNsL-E)
  5. WSPA, worldanimalprotection.org

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