I live in Amish Country so I pass by farms all the time. Those animals look pretty content grazing in the green fields, chickens wandering free among the farmyards. However it wasn't until I saw the movie "Food, Inc." that I started realizing not all animals have such a happy life. I found this site today about egg farming http://www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/factoryfarming/eggs/
"Osteoporosis is another common ailment afflicting egg laying hens, whose bodies lose more calcium to form egg shells than they can assimilate from their diets. One industry journal, Feedstuffs, explains, "...the laying hen at peak eggshell cannot absorb enough calcium from her diet..." while another (Lancaster Farming) states, "... a hen will use a quantity of calcium for yearly egg production that is greater than her entire skeleton by 30-fold or more." Inadequate calcium contributes to broken bones, paralysis, and death.
After one year in egg production, the birds are classified as 'spent hens' and are sent off to slaughter. Their brittle, calcium-depleted bones often shatter during handling or at the slaughterhouse. They usually end up in soups, pot pies, or similar low-grade chicken meat products in which their bodies can be shredded to hide the bruises from consumers."
I noticed this when I recently started eating healthier. Eggs at certain stores were very "fragile" looking - you could almost SEE THROUGH the shells! Then I started shopping at a different store and noticed the shells were thicker. I started eating a more natural brand of chicken as well and noticed the meat was firmer and not as spongy. (Ewwwwwww!) Then I started thinking about how the chickens were probably not getting the right nutrition, thereby laying nutrient-light eggs and having "flabby" meat. So, it also made sense to me why I was not getting enough nutrients in MY diet, if I was eating eggs and meat from such unhealthy chickens!
I can't eat chicken eggs anymore as I have been found allergic to them. But I did find a local farm that has ducks! I'm going there tomorrow to pick up some home-grown duck eggs! I thought having a pet duck would be fun but hubby was not so thrilled with that idea. Who knows what the zoning laws are in my subdivision?
Anyway it is interesting that my diet changes have so many positive implications. Not only am I healthier, the animals are healthier and so is the earth. Amazing! I am really an animal person and there is no animal I don't like. I look at the pictures at that FactoryFarming.com and it makes me sad. Sad our human gluttony and greed has sentenced these poor creatures to a life of misery :( If people could just eat LESS animal products, think of all the animals who would be saved and the less polluted the earth would be!
Right now I am down to duck eggs, small amounts of cheese, chicken, fish and very small amounts of beef.
I wish we could go back to the days when animals were respected and we lived more in harmony with nature.
I agree. I am gradually weaning myself down! It seems like a huge task, but if I do it bit by bit, it seems more manageable. I cut out processed foods first, then gluten, eggs and milk. I've never really liked meat - my mom noticed that about me when I was small. After forcing myself to eat it to be "normal" I'm now going back to my natural way :)
Hey stipey! I think it's great that you're learning more about food production and thinking about all of its implications. I'm sorry my attendence here is so patchy - my health has been such a mess this year. I was just in the hospital for kidney stones of all things! New territory for me even. Anyway, I've done tons of research on nutrition, and my own transition from omni to vegan took about six years and went through many phases, so if you ever have questions or want to talk about stuff you could email me - firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm afraid I'm just not logged in here enough to respond, but I'm practically always there.
Anyway, Food Inc. is a pretty good primer for many of the main issues of the food industry. If you want to really dig in (if you have the stomach for it, ha ha) Jonathan Saffran Foer's new-ish book "Eating Animals" takes a very personal/emotional but very in-depth look at things. Also both "Food Politics" and "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle are great resources - even handed and level headed, and emphasizing moderation and common sense above all else.
Bea - more like all the animals who wouldn't be created in the first place. Which is fine by me, since they are only created to live torturous lives and then die to be "food." But we should call it like it is I think. Definitely on the less polution!