I've been busy writing a thanksgiving themed turkey post for The Jew and the Carrot, which will be coming out next week. In the meantime I've decided to highlight some awesome websites, articles, books and resources which all those interested in poultry should check out.
"The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business" By Christopher Leonard
This well researched and expertly written work breaks down how Tyson foods rose from a small family run business during the depression to a multinational corporation that changed the way the world eats meat. Awe inspiring and terribly disturbing all at once this book is and essential tool for understanding the issues within the poultry and general meat business today.
When people search for humane chicken their minds usually focus on one thing, access to the outdoors aka is it free range or pasture raised? The thing is that this doesn’t actually matter all that much when looking at the big picture. If you start with a genetically unhealthy animal then raising it outdoors will do little to improve its life. I’d much rather eat a genetically healthy chicken raised in a barn than a badly bred free range bird. Taking what are called hybrids and raising them naturally is the equivalent of planting a GMO seed of corn in an organic field and calling it organic… it just doesn’t make sense.
I only eat heritage poultry. Unfortunately this makes it real hard to keep kosher because there is no commercial kosher heritage chicken or turkey available anywhere on earth so I have to kill and process everything I want to eat. About a year ago I wrote a post about the sheer exhaustion that processing my own meat was causing me and that despite the fact that at first it was empowering at this point it's just become exhausting. Not much has changed in the way of commercial birds since I wrote Ethical Convenience but I’ve been determined to find a more convenient way to eat poultry ethically ever since. I spent nearly a year planning and all my hard work came to fruition with a successful shechita run in August. I killed and processed 30 birds in less than a quarter of the time it took me to do only 15 birds in the past. I even felt happy and energized afterwards. What I learned not only helped spare me energy but can also make producing local kosher poultry, a dream of many that still lies unfulfilled in the U.S., a reality.
When it comes to animal welfare issues nothing compares to the problems associated with poultry farming worldwide. The smells and diseases of a feedlot have got nothing on the perverse practices of a turkey breeding facility. The unacceptable behavior revealed by the undercover PETA video of the Rubashkin’s complex doesn’t hold a candle to the everyday horrors of most non-kosher chicken slaughter houses and while the suffering of factory farmed milking cattle is great it seems minute when compared to the horrors of battery caged egg laying hens. I can unequivocally say that the most endemic and challenging animal welfare problem faced in the world today stem directly from the poultry production system. That is why I’m so excited to hear that this year’s Hazon National Food Conference, titled “Poultry, Pollinators, & Policy”, will be devoting much of its time to the plight of our feathered friend and I’m equally excited to be playing a significant role in this year’s conference programing
About the blog:
Welcome to The Kosher Omnivore's Quest! My old blog on kosher slaughter, kosher meat, and animal welfare. For new content check out my new website, The Kosher Cut™. There you'll find: blog posts about shechita and related topics, educational slaughter presentations, kosher slaughter training, and a selection of high quality professional kosher slaughter equipment.