Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Insert your own chicken related title here

Chicken Out! Campaign Sign-up

I'm a skeptical/cynical bugger at the best of times. I wasn't always that way. I suppose a combination of lethargy, discovering how comfortable clothes from the Gap really are, and post Live 8 disillusionment (we could have changed the world man, we could have changed things for everyone, and not just improved album sales) has taken it's toll on this once proud warrior. Signing petitions and wearing badges makes me a warrior right?

But I am fairly inspired to make a change after watching a TV show. Thanks to Coronation Street I will never walk up and or down a mountain again. Nah I'm only joking, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 3 part look at chicken production began this evening. It didn't make for pleasant viewing, I have to say I expected there to be a few more hide behind the sofa moments than there was. But I think that's still to come.

I had already pledged to make changes in how I buy meat and food in general when I read Nick's post on why he is a vegetarian. He put it another way though, Why do you eat meat? Personally I love meat, mmmmmmmmmeat. Lovely stuff. But hey if you don't enjoy the taste of animal flesh that's more than fine with me, and you can skip the rest of this post. Why not pop over here and see what the waiter saw.....

Now that's got rid of that lot. My fellow meat lovers, the process of removing the fluffy and the not so fluffy animal from the field and getting them to the point where we douse them in BBQ sauce is not a pretty one, particularly if you use BBQ sauce. Ewwwww. We all know this and we all make like it doesn't happen. We blank it from our minds. We see the cows in the fields, we see the steak on our plate, the bit in between is filled with a farmer with shiny things distracting us from the carnage going on in the shed behind him.

The point of Hugh Chummly Whummly's programme is to expose the cruelty of the chicken industry. Hugh states that the chicken is the most put upon animal in the human food chain. And when you think about it he is probably right. The price of chicken is low. So it stands to reason that the cost of chicken production must be low too. It takes just 39 days to rear a chicken, slaughter it, wrap it and stack it on a refrigerated shelf in a supermarket. 39 days of pure hell for the bird. They stand in complete darkness for all that time, they are packed so tightly they cant sit down. They would turn to cannibalism if the lights were on such is their boredom. The darkness keeps them docile. Much like chefs it has to be said.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Free range chick chicks can be bought for a few more quid a packet. I know this means a lot to those on a lower income. But for everybody else this should be a no brainer, buy the chicken that's had a jolly life. Buy the chicken that's enjoyed little chicken adventures around it's run. If people made the switch then the higher price of organic free range chicken would come down. It's fucking cruel people, very fucking cruel.

Think about the little chickens being forced to stand in their own chicken poo, which burns their little chicken legs. Would you want that for your own children? No you wouldn't, unless you're a cunt. And you're not a cunt are you? Click the banner above and help a chicken.....

I'm not shopping at Tesco's any more either. I live with butchers, fruit and veg shops, bakeries, delis, and cheesemongers all with in walking distance of my house. Is cheesemongers a real word? Dunno. So why am I giving my cash to to bloody Tesco's? And it's always full of dirty students too. They're always hanging out round the reduced section or buying crates of two for one beer. Get a job. £1.00 in every £8.00 in Britain is spent in Tesco's. Fuck that. No more of my hard flirted tips are going into their tills. Bite me Mr Leahy. And it doesn't end there either....

30 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

ellie said...

I couldn't watch the programme after I saw them toss boxes of baby chicks into the stalls and the wee things were cheeping and landing on other chicks heads. So I turned over and what did I end up with? Kill it, Cook it, Eat it! From farm to table experiences of a suckling pig. Damn, I love meat and now I have guilt, heaped upon guilt

Manuel said...

I know how you feel Ellie. But smother that guilt in some garlic butter and chow down....hehehehehe

upset waitress said...

Clubbing an animal(only the cheap people club them now a days because they don't want to waste a bullet), makes me really enjoy my meat more. I mean come on, that animal was slaughtered for my palate. That's why I think it's criminal for meat to go wasted or bad. Eat your meat or you can't have any pudding.

Medbh said...

Back in my teens when I first became a vegetarian I saw a video of a standard factory farm where they de-beaked the chickens in the cages where 9-12 of them lived so that they wouldn't peck each other to death. Fucking horror show.
I buy, cook, and serve it, but I don't eat it. Yes, I pay more for the free-range chickens.
You are right, Manuel. They suffer the most in the food chain.

Manuel said...

Upset: You are right, in a way. Meat shouldn't be wasted. You disrespect the animal when you waste or even when you cook it badly.

Medbh: I've seen a lot of those.....grim...but slaughter can be done with the strictest of standards and ensuring no pain.....the quality of life has to be raised too...

Native Minnow said...

In high school my job was to clean a meat packing plant. It wasn't pretty, but it didn't make me go off meat either. I did, however, have difficulty eating cherry pie for a while.

Manuel said...

Native minnow: you're a strange fella eh....

MJ said...

I'm having difficulty thinking up a chicken-related title that doesn't involve the word "cock."

Anonymous Boxer said...

I stopped eating chicken many moons ago after I read an article in ATLANTIC MONTHLY about a processing plant. I'm a vegetarian because I won't/can't eat a mammal... and Native Minnow's comment IS a bit concerning... kinda scary that's he a professor.... and is impacting young minds.

Gypsy said...

You are right about us never thinking how that fluffy animal/feathered bird ended up on our plate. Dammit Manuel I LOVE my chicken and now I feel too guilty to eat it.

That sounds like a tv show I definitely couldn't watch. I can't even watch the RSPCA shows because to get to the happy ending you first have to witness the cruelty inflicted on our animal friends by the likes of us fucked up humans. Sometimes I am so ashamed to be part of the human race. Seriously.....

Old Knudsen said...

Its only chickens for fucks sake,they all come out the same way so I'd rather not pay more for that.

Why should chickens be happy? give the battery hens anti-depressants and keep eggs cheap cheap.

bendersbetterbrother said...

I imagine they kill them all the same way, free range or not.

Flirty Something said...

I worry when a bag of apples is more expensive than a Chicken, something has to be wrong!

sheepworrier said...

Standing in the dark, wading through their own shite... anyone else see a similarity to stormont here?

I've seen plenty of animals being killed and skinned so it doesn't hold the same horror for me, but that type of chicken farming just seems unneccesarily cruel. Would the RSPCA/Food Standards not have something to say?

Manuel said...

Mj: i got attacked by a cock once.....true story...

boxer:the friends you keep!

gypsy: i'm with you on that gypsy....

old k(fc): chicken flucker...

bbb: yes you are right....but that's no excuse to let them live literally in shit...

flirty: very good point...

sheepo: ah I knew you would be a lover of animals...they set the bad standards as it is.....the food standards/defra types that is...

livesbythewoods said...

I love meat, but totally agree - buy the very best free range happy meat you can afford, and if that means you don't eat meat every day, then don't eat meat every day.

Hugh F-W's "Meat" book is well worth a read too.

It's why I buy a whole chicken now rather than pieces and boil up the carcase for soup once I've finished rending the flesh with my teeth.

sheepworrier said...

Manuel: Indeed I do love the animals, but the farmers don't seem to like it.

Dennis said...

Best post yet, Manuel. Well done. But you spelled "program" wrong.

Peace,

- Dennis
www.donttipthewaiter.blogspot.com

bendersbetterbrother said...

I know the battery hen thing isn't good but we eat too much chicken to have them all running free range. In fact we're a massive exporter of chicken which is why they want to build a power plant running on the remains offal.
If you had all those chickens running free range the hunting lobby would be doing their nut as within a handful of years the fox population will have exploded (and farmers won't want to lose many slow growing £8 chickens to them).

Better conditions, yes but ban battery farming, no.

Is it just me? said...

'My hard Flirted tips'...*Laughs hard*.
You're dead right here Manuel.
I saw the river cottage guy do a prog a while back where he tried to teach people who lived in (dodgy) chicken wings how to cook using real food and happy chickens and his success rate was astounding once he'd shown the guys how these cheap chickens were kept and killed.Even the unemployed mum of six had to admit that by buying a better class of bird and actually using the ENTIRE bird, she wold save money and feed her family good food while discouraging the factory breeding of chickens.
Well done..great minds indeed.
Ps I'm nominating you SEVERAL times for the Irish blog awards so you'd better come along.

Nikc said...

Yes, the first programme was great viewing, looking forward to the other two. Very telling that the big poultry farms refused to let him anywhere near them - it'd be far too shocking to all those chicken-loving shoppers.

Nick said...

Er, that should read nick. Obviously I've been locked up in the dark for too long....

Manuel said...

LBTW: I have that very meat book......more food porn.....it's a quality number

Sheepo: persevere.......it's your right to "worry"

Dennis: settle......oh you Americans and your funny spelling.....center? color? tut tut tut

bbb: I disagree.....just because it's difficult to do doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. I don't think the country would all of a sudden be over run with chickens.....funny though if it did happen....

Is it just me?: stop it....you're making me blush.....

Manuel said...

Nikc/Nick: takes a man from here to step up eh.....I wonder if he has been getting much abuse....

Mudflapgypsy said...

BBB tell me you are joking re the hordes of free range hens making the fox population explode?

That's like people (seriously) telling me that you have to eat the cows other wise there would be too many of them.

To all meat eaters, if you can't kill it yourself then don't eat it.

Manuel said...

muddy: it's a good point.....i'm not sure I could.....

bendersbetterbrother said...

We won't be overrun with foxes but ask any farmer who keeps his outside if he has a fox problem and what he does about it. In N.I. the chicken industry is huge producing much more than we can eat and supplying most of the output overseas. You'd have to give over thousands of fields to free range and the number of foxes would increase markedly because of the easy availability of captive food.

What I'm saying is this would merely transfer the problem. The very same people who would be up in arms about battery hens will also be vehemently anti any means of controlling the foxes. And the foxes would have to be hunted or trapped and put down to control their population. Happy chickens. Unhappy foxes. Still complaints.

I say spread the chickens out. Make it law to massively increase their space but it would have to be done at a European level, not domestic. Still battery hens but happier battery hens. Battery farming also largely protects against the spread of an outbreak of bird flu. It would be impossible to do this if all chickens were free range.
There is no magic wand.

Manuel said...

BBB: "I say spread the chickens out" me too, all over a toasted bun with jalapenos, mayo, onion, and crispy bacon....mmmmmmmmm no offense mind....

Queen Of Clean said...

Waaaahhh!!

I live in an area so behind the fucking times that channel 4 has to give way to some bogtrotting auld farmers comparing their tractor tyres and singing about starving women....half way through the programme they click the switch!!

Hubby is a real HFW admirer, and I don't think our telly is going to survive another signal switch...Jamie Oliver got the same treatment...anyone know where we can view the episodes?

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