Where Does Our Chicken Come From?

Chicken which is considered one of the most common birds in the United States due to its domestication has become an item of mass production in the past 50 years due to the demand and the supply created by the producers. But how exactly is it produced?

After a lot of research that both gave good and bad depictions of the production of chicken I found more terrible depictions. Chicken which is produced all around the world is carried out in places called complexes. These complexes contain feed mills, hatcheries, a processing plant, and chicken farms (where the chicks are raised).

Chicken Farm

It all starts in the hatchery where “broiler” chickens (bred especially for meatiness, quick growth, and weight gain) are used to lay eggs in make shift coops. The eggs are collected from the hatchery to be incubated. After 45 weeks the chickens are no longer considered productive and are slaughtered and used as pet food or for soup.

In the incubators the eggs are kept warm by machine until the chicks peck through the eggs and are sprayed with a mist of vaccine against common diseases in the inoculation area.

Pictured on the right is a chicken farm or grow out, although it seems somewhat empty a normal chicken farm is 400ft x 50ft and pack with more than 20,000 chickens (approximately 0.8 sq ft per bird). The area is open without cages there is not very much room to move. The chickens are fed a diet consisting of 70% corn, 20% soy, and 10% “vitamins and minerals”. Many companies state that they dont inject their chickens with steroids or hormones, but many documentaries describe how they are to make them grow faster (many times till they cant walk) and some are injected with water to make them seem bigger without any nutrients.

An example of “extras” being put into our chicken:

From there it is sent to be plucked and cleaned and cut for production and packaging. The following videos show visually the processes.

This is what companies want us to think its like:

This is what its actually like:

In the US:

In other countries:

and

As the previous videos depicted it is apparent that globalization is a factor in this industry. Not only are the chicken farms located in the United States but also in other countries around the world. People are being hired around the world to produce the chicken found of shelves of stores in nations in every part of the planet. The profits of the production of chicken is divided unequally. The major corporations pay small farmers to run these chicken complexes, but many of them have to take out “loans” from the companies to start the complexes or build stuff required to run the operations and essentially are driven into unpayable debt that modernly enslaves the farmers and workers for these small farms. They make enough to live and keep paying on the debt that they will never be able to pay off. Therefore most of the profits go to the major corporations. Many of the farms in the United States are located in what is known as the “Broiler Belt” which stretches from eastern Texas through the south eastern states and up to Maryland and Delaware.

Understanding all of these things about our foods show us that we have no say in what we are able to purchase and intake into our bodies unless we grow and make things ourselves, or go out of the convenience offered in out lives to purchase food products from places like local farmers markets. Our food sovereignty is it the mercy of  what these large corporations want to do with and how they produce their products. We as consumers have lost our basic human rights to choose the food we are provided. There in my opinion is very little to no food justice in the world we live in today. Yes there are food protection and monitoring agencies (FDA) but many times they do not regulate the food as much as we would hope. They over see all the food labeling, nutrition, and packaging that companies produce with their products.

But a lot of the food contains chemical and preservatives and excessive amount of unhealthy fats that these companies cannot control what the food contains. This is the injustice that we face everyday while eating food. The mere ingredients used to make the food we eat many times are not good for our bodies but we have become so accustomed to the way we eat in this country that it is nearly impossible to get people to change now and even if they did what would they eat?

As Patel states “as soon as you walk into the supermarket you are in the belly of the new giants of the food system; the moment you walk into the supermarket you surrender a great deal of freedom”. The engineering of the supermarkets themselves are created to sell consumers products. The production of chicken is just one product and process that has many of these “evils” and “deceptions” tied to it that are created through not only the farmers of the chickens but all the way to our carts in the supermarkets.

An ending quote from Patel:

“We call it choice when we are manipulated into buying something.”.

Sources:

http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Chicken.html

http://www.tysonfoods.com/About-Tyson/Live-Production/Chicken.aspx

http://www.lcafood.dk/processes/industry/slaughteringofchicken.htm

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2 thoughts on “Where Does Our Chicken Come From?

  1. djlwsu says:

    Excellent work! Why do you think we often see discussions about the treatment of animals but not the treatment of workers?

  2. djumbo28 says:

    We seem to think that chickens we eat are mostly from farms in America..What was the biggest surprise to you while researching the origin of chicken. Also do you believe that it is “food” or a “animal” anymore

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