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Who's to Blame for Poultry Suffering?

Story ID:10525
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:- N.Carolina usa
Person:Craig Watts
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When it comes to raising poultry in the United States and probably in many
places of the world, we should bow our heads in shame. What these poor
innocent birds suffer to assuage our meat lust is nothing less than barbaric and
cruel. But sadly, most people turn a blind’s eye in this regard because they
obviously still buy chicken in all its forms.

Just recently, I recorded a petition in the ledger in front of our church where
I believed we were all welcome to write and share our petitions. I wrote in it
my daily prayer- that the CAFOs from hell be dismantled and that all the
religions of the world will teach lessons of compassion for people AND animals.

After liturgy -when some very few of us were praying the rosary together as this
is the month of May – I noticed that a woman and the priest were looking at this
ledger. Why did I feel that this woman called his attention to my petition? Right or
wrong –but somehow I did. If so, why was she so offended by a petition of
compassion? If correct in my assumption, I am saddened that the majority of people
including Catholic worshippers have little or no feeling at all re farm animal suffering.
In this case, I also think that this parish’s yearly pork chop dinner benefit bolsters
this opinion.

Sadly, I believe that not just these Catholics, but the majority of us don’t seem to
be bothered by farm animal suffering. If we were, than I believe there would be
many fewer places of suffering as in this case at the Craig Watts Poultry Farm in North

However, Craig Watts is not an ordinary poultry farmer any more because he is
the rare “bird” who blew the whistle on Perdue for the abusive practices it requires
of its contractors.

His story was first told to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. Now I was reading
Willy Blackmore’s post on TakePart where he is the food editor. Even his title is
attention grabbing: “Here’s What Happens When a Big Ag Farmer Invites an Animal
Welfare Group into the Chicken Barn.”

Craig Watts, who owns the North Carolina farm that has been in his family since
the 1700’s, had been presently raising broiler chickens for Perdue since 1992. But he
now tells New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof that the company’s claim of
humane treatment for chickens “couldn’t get any further from the truth.”

To finally hear this said from a chicken farmer is truly wonderful and worthy of note.
He also made possible a high quality footage video which shows birds suffering throughout
their short pain-filled lives. It shows some of the saddest moments in their lives when
they are unable to stand under the weight of their oversized breasts. Their stomachs
are burned bare of feathers because of the preponderance of urine and feces they sit
upon. If there is such a thing as a bird’s hell – I think that this surely must be it.

And Perdue’s response after seeing investigators go to the Watts’ farm just hours after
Kristof’s column ran? ”The fault for the shocking treatment of the birds lies with Watts.”

But other former chicken farmers contracted by Perdue admit that what Watts revealed
was not an isolated incident. Carole Morrison, also a former chicken farmer from Maryland
contracted by Perdue, agreed. She revealed in the documentary Food, Inc. that when she raised
chickens for Perdue on her farm that the conditions were like those found at the Watt’s farm-
“... a massive metal barn packed with birds, two-thirds of a square foot per chicken.”

You’ve probably thought of this before. And the question is- can we you do something
about this cruelty? The answer is obvious. Stop buying chicken. Maybe if enough of us
would boycott companies like Perdue, compassionate changes will be made. Thank God,
some of us have already responded to that cruelty because we are vegan or vegetarian.

And lastly, kudos to North Carolina’s governor Pat McCrory who VETOED the proposed Ag-Gag
law which would have punished whistleblowers who report abuse at ANY workplace in the state.
Here’s hoping that North Carolina’s legislators will not try to override it since a recent survey
revealed that 74 per cent of North Carolinians support undercover investigations of animal
abuse and food safety hazards.