February 3, 2015
Despite the close relationship between government and Big Agri manifesting itself in the passage of a number of “Ag Gag” laws across the country, the knowledge that animals raised in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are treated in absolutely horrific ways should, by now, be relatively common. Yet the images produced from a visit to these operations never cease to be shocking to those who are finally confronted with it.
The images coming from a Fairmont, North Carolina poultry farm were no exception to the rule in terms of the poor conditions of the animals housed there. However, what was an exception to the rule was the way in which the film was obtained – by the invitation of the farmer, not by a covert agent of the animal rights movement.
Craig Watts, the contract farmer for Perdue farms, reached out to animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming after pangs of conscience could no longer be ignored. His change of heart occurred after watching a commercial in which the president of Perdue stated that “Doing the right thing is things like treating your chickens humanely.”
If doing the right thing is treating your chickens humanely, then Perdue farms is clearly doing the wrong thing. This much is evidenced by the video that was produced after taking a walk across Watts’ contracted Perdue operation.
The chickens, which can be seen in the video below, are undeniably suffering under horrific conditions. Most of them have lost their feathers as well as having exposed and open wounds on their underbellies caused by their lack of ability to move. These chickens are often deformed as a result of the farm conditions and/or breeding techniques. Others are weakened by their abnormally large breasts and the fact that they have virtually no free space in which to move.
As Nicholas Kristof wrote for the New York Times,
Most shocking is that the bellies of nearly all the chickens have lost their feathers and are raw, angry, red flesh. The entire underside of almost every chicken is a huge, continuous bedsore. As a farmboy who raised small flocks of chickens and geese, I never saw anything like that.
One reason seems to be modern breeding: Chickens are now bred to have huge breasts, and they often end up too heavy for their legs. Poultry Science journal has calculated that if humans grew at the same rate as modern chickens, a human would weigh 660 pounds by the age of eight weeks.
These chickens don’t run around or roost as birds normally do. They stagger a few steps, often on misshapen legs, and then collapse onto the excrement of tens of thousands of previous birds. It is laden with stinging ammonia that seems to eat away at feathers and skin.
Yet, if consumers are not concerned about the suffering of fellow creatures (albeit creatures they intend to eat), the fact is that these chickens are often marketed as being “cage free” simply because they are not kept in cages. This, of course, is a technicality because the entire operation is effectively a cage, just one that is much bigger than the traditional wired boxes.
Still, while Perdue attempted to blame Watts for the state of the chickens, Watts maintained that their conditions are the natural product of the requirements set forth in the Perdue contract.
Perdue has recently settled a lawsuit with the Humane Society of the United States by agreeing to remove a line stating “humanely raised” from its packaging. Still, Perdue denies any guilt in terms of the inhumane conditions.
Note that the lawsuit came from the Humane Society and not the USDA.
American “regulatory agencies” are notorious for ignoring true issues while allowing inhumane, unsanitary, and dangerous manufacturing and production methods to continue. This is yet one more example of the collusion between Big Agriculture and Government to the detriment of all.
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Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.