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“We’ve successfully bred most chicken out of the chicken.”


While working on a story about extreme dog breeding, our reporter was told over and over again to check out how farm animals—especially chickens—are bred. In a few short weeks, she discovered yet another example of the human capacity for shaping animals to our own dubious ends.

For the first time in recent memory, Americans are consuming more chicken per person than beef. The typical adult now chomps around 60 pounds a year of the birds and the chart below makes the trend clear. If you’re among those visiting the Colonel or other poultry purveyors, your reasons probably have to do either with chicken’s reputation as a healthier source of protein or its lower cost. Indeed, chicken is lower in fat than beef, making it potentially less of a contributor to cardiovascular disease. And some studies have associated chicken with a lowered risk of colon cancer.
American consumers eat more chicken than all types of beef combined

American consumers eat more chicken than all types of beef combined

But not all chickens are created equal—or are equally healthful—as WhoWhatWhy learned from an investigation of how chickens are raised in the United States. Due to a combination of selective breeding and rearing practices, chickens today grow at an absurdly unnatural pace: three to six times faster than they did 60 years ago. The chickens of today are almost Frankenbirds. One farmer put it bluntly: “We’ve successfully bred most chicken out of the chicken.”

Supersized baby chicks on the menu

To understand how much chickens have changed, it is instructive to look back at the early 1900s. In 1925, it took 16 weeks to raise a chicken to 2.5 pounds. Today, chickens weigh double that after just six weeks. According to a study from the University of Arkansas, if humans grew at a similar rate, after just two months, a 6.6-pound newborn baby would weigh 660 pounds.

“Chickens are suffering as a result of genetic breeding,” said Bruce G. Friedrich, senior policy director at Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization with sanctuaries in New York and California. “They are sent to slaughter when they are about six weeks old, chirping like babies. They have massive upper bodies, and are being genetically bred to grow six times faster.”
A rescued chicken named Symphony at Farm Sanctuary

The reason they are bred with top-heavy bodies is because breast meat is in more demand than dark meat. “Chickens are much fatter and have to be filled with antibiotics [in order] to be kept alive today,” said Friedrich. “It’s true,” agreed Suzanne McMillan, senior director of ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare. Her report on the plight of factory farm chickens explains: “Because of their immense size, many birds cannot support their own weight, are unable to stand or walk, and they can die of dehydration or hunger just inches from food and water.”

These out-sized chickens are often found toppled over, lying in their own waste, with open sores and infections. “These unhealthy conditions could potentially increase the risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella,” McMillan explained. In fact, a 2010 Consumer Reports analysis of fresh, whole chickens purchased at stores nationwide found that two-thirds harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.
- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/04/30/chicken-thanks-wheres-beef/...

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This also has happened

to most men, as well. The result is 1/2 chicken, and 1/2 monkey ....what's running around is a chunky :)

for what it's worth we buy local free-range chicken . . .

as much as possible, and if/when we can't get it, we only buy free range/organic chickens.

The meat is more flavorful, darker. We also buy local, free range eggs.

But then we are in a rural area.

I could not eat 'commercial' chicken.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Why can't we grow our own chickens?

It's illegal in most cities, here in Grand Rapids it was proposed a year ago and was voted down by the city commissioners. Just another example of how laws prevent people from being self sufficient.

we live in a silly (though we are really quite happy here

otherwise) small town in the middle of nowhere. There are several large cities in our state that are quite far away from us that ALLOW backyard chickens, but our town doesn't!!!

Did you know that you can keep chickens in parts of New York City?

And yet so many small metro areas and even small towns don't allow it?

It's ridiculous.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

start a movement

and make a change! We did it in my town. And then we did it again for goats!!!

When we think of onerous government regulations

we usually think of federal rules and regs, however local cities, counties and townships can be much more dictatorial. Cronyism and bureaucratic busy bodies at the local level can reign supreme. Zoning, building codes, and other regulations control almost anything a private land owner or homeowner can do, some regulations are good, but too many decisions are based on who you know, who you are or what political clout you have. Cash bribes to officials on zoning and planning boards are not uncommon.

thank you (and babybear)--

we are--

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Go to the Philippines and taste their chicken.

I cannot express in words how much better the chicken tasted there.
It was so much leaner & better tasting than the factory raised chicken here in the US. NO STEROIDS, NO ANTIBIOTICS, just organic fresh market food.

If you like spicy Asian food, you will be in heaven.
All the food there was so much better than the US, I did not want to come home, despite the culture shock.


"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon

hate to break it to you

But this is the case with all the vegetables we eat. Have you ever seen a wild tomato? What about a wild apple?

However, the conditions these chickens are raised in is appalling. Buy and eat pastured chickens, if you can find them.

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

That's exactly why

I lost appetite for chicken, years ago. Whenever I see the giant chicken drums in a supermarket, or someone being served the 3 fingers thick chicken fillets in a restaurant, I want to puke. -_-

I'm dreaming of being awakened every morning with the sound of "co co co co coooooo!" coming from my own back yard, with chickens roaming free, eating grass and earth worms, and laying natural eggs with orange-red yolks.

Ron Paul Revolution is spreading around the world: Freedom and Prosperity TV: libertarian network of alternative media in Western Balkans

Not in my backyard, baby.

My babies grow healthy, the normal way. The eight chicks I have right now are six weeks old, and growing the old-fashioned way.

And in a related story

Antibiotic crisis bigger than Aids as common infections will kill, WHO warns


A child's scratched knee from falling off their bike, common bladder infections among the elderly in care homes and routine surgery to replace broken hips could all become fatal as antibiotics are becoming increasingly useless, the World Health Organisation has said.

The crisis is bigger and more urgent than the Aids epidemic of the 1980s, it was warned.

UK experts said the 'era of safe medicine is coming to an end' and government funds must be pumped into the production of new drugs.

In the foreword to the report Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, wrote: "A post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century."

He said: "Unless we take significant actions to improve efforts to prevent infections and also change how we produce, prescribe and use antibiotics, the world will lose more and more of these global public health goods and the implications will be devastating.”

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