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USDA- Chickens Need to be Protected

Story ID:9565
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Location:various Alabama usa
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I have never been a fan of the USDA. Years ago I remember
writing them my abhorence of big corporate chicken CAFOs putting
unwanted male chicks through a grinder ALIVE. I don't remember
if they even bothered to respond, but sadly, I believe this horror
still persists. Are you horrified? Horrified enough to write
the President and the USDA? Horrified enough to stop eating
eggs and chickens? No? I didn't think so. The truth of the
matter is that most people don't seem to really care. Maybe
further down I will give you another reason to care.

Just today someone on Facebook's Vegan Catholic says that she
sometimes struggles with her vegan diet. How strange I thought.
People like me - when finding out about the horrors connected
with eating eggs, meat, and dairy find the vegan diet truly
liberating and even delicious and satisfying.

There are so many great vegan recipes to choose from on the
internet. I am never bored by my vegan lifestyle which I chose
in 1983 when riding on the bus to Madison, WI to protest the
cruel Primate Center there.

I was vegetarian at the time when a fellow passenger asked me
if I ate cheese. Yes, of course, I answered- why not? Well,
when he told me that the coagulant for cheese-making requires
an enzyme from a calf or pig's stomach, from that moment on,
I was VEGAN. Even when I later found out that some cheeses
are made with a chemical enzyme, it really didn't matter
because by then I also learned about dairy cow suffering in


HSUS sent us this morning something we knew was coming but hoped
it would never materialize. The USDA wants to stop overseeing
the slaughter of millions and millions of chickens each year to
ensure that they and the workers are being treated as humanely as

So it is not only the chickens who need protecting, but the workers
as well -tens of thousands of them who often work in frigid or
scorching temperatures where per HSUS: "..the chickens race by at
punishing speed, hanging upside down on metal hooks on the processing
lines." They continue: "Chicken is the country's most prevalent meat,
and it comes at a tremendous cost to those who work on the lines and
to the chickens who recieve NO federal protection under the law."

The workers are none too happy with the USDA's proposals to reduce
its inspector corps by some 40 percent. Handing this reponsibility
for the oversight to the poultry companies who may now feel free to
accelerate an already punishing speed of the slaughtering lines is

As result, some 200,000 Americans joined with the Southern Poverty
Law Center and the Congressional Black Caucus to protest the USDA's
proposals to make this inspector reduction a reality.

I think we should all commiserate with the poor people who work in
these awful chicken slaughtering places. Many of them endure
debilitating pain and crippling injuries to their hands, along with
musculoskeletal disorders and carpal tunnel syndrome caused by
repetitive motion conditions. And, of course, the suffering to the
chickens is not insignificant.

Re my sympathy for the workers I have to ask you - have you ever
gutted a chicken? I assure you that it is an experience you wouldn't
enjoy - pulling out the innards and intestines of a once living bird.
I think everyone who likes to eat chicken should have this experience.
Somehow, I think the numbers of chicken eaters would drop- if not
dramatically, at least considerably. Maybe enough so that some of
these chicken cafos from hell will have to shut down.


I think we are all afraid of physical suffering - whether its
breaking an arm or a leg, having a heart attack, or having to
lick cancer with surgery and chemo.

Suffering is suffering and what makes us think that it is different
for the chickens? Here is one sobering fact among others re the
suffering lives of our chickens. Foremostly, they spend their
entire lives in a tiny cage crowded in with other chickens where
none can spread their wings. Just like if our mobility would be
taken from us- though we can use wheelchairs to get around if we

Finally, the day comes when they are "released" from their crowded
cages which have been prisons for them for so long. Now - according
to Kimberly Kindy of the Washington Post we learn some of the horror
awaiting them:

"The USDA's own records have shown that nearly one million chickens
and turkeys are unintentionally drowned in tanks of scalding hot
water each year in US slaughterhouses. The birds are shackled upside
down, then dragged through an electrified water bath to stun them,
sent by a neck slicer, and then dumped into the scalding water bath.
The birds who don't get electrocuted and then killed by the neck
slicer are the ones who are boiled alive. This is not only cruel,
it poses food safety risks as the stressed birds defecate in the
scalding water shared by many other birds."

After reading this, my compassionate vegan Boca "original chik'n veggie
pattie" tasted even better than usual. Chickens and all animals are my
friends and you don't eat your friends.

And the sad part of the proposed deregulation is summed up by HSUS:

"In the end, the proposal is just one more generous concession to
the nation's largest poultry processors, who stand to gain an
additional $250 million a year in revenue from the pick-up in the line
speed. This industry is already highly deregulated, and this proposal
makes an unacceptable situation even worse."

What a way to become richer -on the backs of suffering chickens and
hard-working people. Let's not let this happen. We can do two
things- we can write the President and the USDA re our objections
to this deregulation, and we can stop buying chicken or at least
much less so. If you care, it will happen.