Let’s say you like to eat chicken and you’re all right with that. You’ve heard about arsenic in chicken feed and chicken imported to China and back again, but you’re still amenable to that. Chances are you probably wouldn’t be OK with why U.S. factory farm chicken must be washed in chlorine.
Recently, the UK was shocked to find out that it had “suddenly” embodied U.S. factory farms. This revelation, along with the “disturbing prospect of chlorine-washed chickens from the US going on sale in British shops in a post-Brexit trade deal” must have sparked a frenzy because now there are feverish, British reports of “America’s Frankenchickens.” America’s chickens are triple the size of their 1950s counterparts.
These chickens – and we’re using the term loosely – are in compact spaces, are fed to the point that they cannot stand, indiscriminately given antibiotics, and have flesh that rots off their bodies while they are still alive! (Why would anyone feed this to their children?) Additionally, the animals are killed in a variety of terrifying ways, especially if they are of no use. One undercover video revealed a farm owner bludgeoning a chicken with a metal rod.
Whistle-blower farmers revealed the following living conditions typical to factory farms:
- Tens of thousands of super-sized ‘Frankenstein’ birds are crammed in vast warehouses.
- The chickens, which weigh up to 9lb, often buckle under their weight and must live without natural sunlight.
- Chickens frequently die before they reach maturity and many are left covered in their own feces, turning warehouses into vile breeding grounds for disease.
The UK and Europe have regulations about spacing minimums and ammonia levels (urine, fecal matter) – regulations that are apparently absent from the U.S.
Daily Mail reports:
There is no legal requirement to wash US chickens in chlorine or other disinfectants, but 97 per cent of its birds are cleaned in this way after slaughter.
The possibility of US chickens being sold in Britain after a post-Brexit trade deal sparked a huge Cabinet row, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove speaking out against the move while Trade Secretary Liam Fox insisted the chlorine-rinsed meat was safe.
Dr Fox, who met leading politicians and businessmen in the US last week, sparked fury from the public and other Ministers after he signalled he would be in favour of dropping the EU’s ban on importing chicken from the US if it proved to be a barrier to securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.
The furore exposed just how difficult it will be for Britain to quickly strike new deals with foreign powers once we leave the EU in 2019. Now whistleblowers have offered a disturbing insight into the £70 billion US poultry industry, which is controlled by the big agricultural firms lobbying to sell their meat to Britain.
North Carolina farmer Craig Watts, 51, told the MoS: ‘The birds are too heavy to stand because they have been bred for breast meat and nothing else so they spend their lives squatting. It’s like two toothpicks sticking out of a grape.
He told DM that a whopping one-third of chickens raised every six weeks would be dead before reaching maturity. The undersides of their chests become infected by constant contact with ground litter and fecal matter.
Watts, who quit the biz out of sheer disgust, added:
Their flesh would rot and, when you have them crammed in so tight, they will walk over other birds if they want to get to the food or scratch the others and cause a wound. It is awful.
The last of conventional “family” farms are under contract with big producers like Pilgrim’s Pride and this may be contributing to the problem of filthy living standards for meat-bound animals.
DM says, “The firms dictate what the farmers can do and are paid according to a ‘tournament system’ that pits farmers against each other. The farmer who produces the most meat with the least feed comes top. A less efficient farmer will have money deducted from his base pay.”
Therefore, all forms of corner-cutting are incentivized and the farmers hanging on to these jobs may be too afraid to speak out. If you watch the documentary Under Contract you will see that these families hardly make any pennies for this chaotic, unhygienic labor – 16 hours of work per day in some cases!
Up to 70 percent of poultry farmers live below poverty level. The top-dogs rig the system for the most profit possible and both the animals and farmers get the shaft.
Although those who have vested interests in poultry farming claim that chlorine-washing is a safe practice, food safety advocates point out that it’s the same type of chlorine that we might use on our toilets. Plus, it’s the necessity of this bleach that presents the most disturbing aspect.
Shraddha Kaul, of the British Poultry Council, said: ‘We strongly reject any move to import chlorine-washed chickens as part of a makeweight in trade negotiations with the US.
‘Chlorine is used as a catch-all. It is an approach which means it doesn’t matter how badly you treat your chicken, you can just clean it away at the end of the process.’
The UK is not innocent just because they have more poultry regulations. But you can see that catching America’s free-for-all corporate nightmare is not what they want on their tables – just yet…