The conversation came up when I asked my mom why she wasn’t buying eggs from the neighbor’s chicken farm anymore.
“The chickens don’t lay eggs during the winter,” she said.
Not knowing the chicken’s production cycle, I asked, “So… what do the farmers do during the winter to keep the chickens laying eggs?”
Dad answered. He said that the chickens sit inside a cage about the size as themselves, a light shines above their head, they sit inside a poultry house all day, and… they lay eggs all year long. He told me how the chickens go crazy sitting in a tiny spot like that for so long. They start pecking at themselves. And when they peck, the farmers chop off their beaks.
“You should watch Foods, Inc.”
After watching the documentary on Sunday, I was seriously disturbed. I always knew that cows, chickens, and other farm animals were treated badly, but I didn’t really get it. Farmers grow chicks to 5-pound, full-grown chickens in about 49 days. Because they grow so fast, their internal organs and bones can’t keep up. Their legs can barely hold their bodies. The chickens can only take a few steps until their legs give out and they fall over.
“These chickens never see sunlight,” said one of the farmers.
“This isn’t farming, this is just mass production like an assembly line in a factory,” said another.
The movie went into other problems like corn, monopolies in the food industry, meat contaminations, etc.
I was curious to see what my own religion thought about this. I found that in D&C Section 89, it says, “Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.” In verse 12, it says that the “flesh of beasts” is to be used sparingly. It’s in the same section where we are also told not to drink. Obviously these verses are important, whether it is or isn’t emphasized as much as alcohol.
I surely can’t decide right at this second how I’m going to grocery shop for the next years of my life, or what things I’ll never do again, food-wise. I doubt I’ll stop eating meat altogether, and I doubt that I’ll never again go to a fast-food restaurant. But I do want to find ways to avoid being a part of a food system that treats animals, humans, and workers poorly. I can cook most meals at home, buy organic foods, avoid milk from cows treated with growth hormones, eat foods only in their seasons, eat less meat, etc.