Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others, by Mark Bittman (one of my favorite NY Times contributors)

This is an article that touched a nerve with me and I wanted to share it. The basic premise is that a girl in NY was sent to jail for killing her brother's pet hampster, while animals raised for food are tortured legally- and the double standard in that.

It absolutely tortures me to watch something like "Earthlings" (which will change your life), because it just makes no sense to me to harm a creature for any reason, much less justify it by saying that the animal is for food, leather, fur, etc.

Our chicks are absolutely pampered from day 1. The coop that they are going to move into when they are bigger is made to keep them happy and safe, from the height of the nesting boxes, to the type of materials on the floor, to the location of the run designed to keep them safe from predators while they forage, to the materials used for their perches.

Some of our chicks were purchased to be pets. We don't expect our bantams (our little guys) to be big egg producers or be big enough to eat. They're here because they're adorable and we wanted our kids to know that they were permanent and meant to be pets. Some of our pullets (female chickens) were purchased to be egg producers- the eggs will be eaten by us, our family and friends, some will be donated to those less fortunate should we have that kind of bounty. Some of our chicks, on the other hand, are going to be eaten. They will be killed humanely, processed in a clean and effective manner, and never once do we plan to lose sight of the sacrifice made by an animal that is to be eaten. The chickens meant for food will never be kept separately, treated with any less kindness, fed any less quality organic food, or spoken to less kindly than our pet chickens.

For this reason, I cannot understand the abuse of animals raised to be eaten. We know that some of our chickens will be eaten, but that does not change our treatment of them. It doesn't change the fact that just by living and being here on this planet, they deserve to be treated with kindness and not deprived of attention, food, water, proper living accomodations, or anything else that we consider important to give our pets.

I encourage everyone to keep that in mind when they shop for groceries. Grass fed, free range beef is the way to go. Preferrably from a local farmer that will let you visit his herd. Free range hens that are allowed to have sunlight, fresh air, and forage. Eggs produced by happy, well cared for hens. Cage free does not mean free range, either. A cage free chicken can live it's life in a hen house with no sunlight.

Just be aware. Be conscious of the decisions that you make when you buy groceries. It makes a world of difference to creatures that most people deem unworthy of such considerations.

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