Wednesday, 20 May 2015

20th May 2015

Your tale of pollution, horror and slaughter will shock nobody it’s all been said before it’s been broadcast and reported the world over, and nothing is going to change that is a certainty.
There are millions of poor people who have to be fed and food of all types needs to be produced cheaply, while at the same time providing employment for people to be able to support their families.
More here...Gaurdian

Andrew S Hickinson - Comment
The true horror for me, having kept chickens for years and being an advocate for improving not only their welfare - essential as that is - but also how people view these birds, their perception of them, is that these are not dumb animals without sense or feeling or complexity. Chickens are highly intelligent creatures, each with a personality, capable of exercising self-control, learning their names when given names, learning the names we assign to their flock sisters, planning ahead, counting to five, and familiar with transitive inference.
And if you as a human being don't know what transitive inference is, you've really no business eating these creatures killed for you after being cruelly abused throughout their lives. If a person can kill an animal directly and quickly, without inducing fear, knowing its abilities, recognising its beauty and honouring it by allowing it to first live naturally, then that's one thing arguably and demonstratively better for man and beast and circle of life. Instead, animals are commodities, assets, units with no moral or ethical considerations applied as they are mutated, stacked, slaughtered by machines and pulped, sieved, squeezed into perverse square-shaped, round-shaped, chemically-loaded and artificially-preserved so-called foods advertised to families as healthy required protein covertly laced with salt and sugar and colourants to restore flesh shades rather than seek to draw appeal that would not come for the pinky-grey slush these processes of torture result in, were it not for technology. And then a clown smiles at kids from posters, tempting them to pester their parents into buying them meals that are far from happy on the promise of getting plastic toys alongside.
If there is anything more emblematic of humanity's divorce from the natural world that produced us, I struggle to imagine what that might be.
With a book to my name, Chickens As Pets, that in part seeks to encourage rescue of caged hens prior to slaughter and to spread the fact virally that chickens are as clever and loving and engaging as the cats and dogs few in the West would dream of eating, I have earned a reputation as a leading authority on poultry in the context of them being pets and having a role to play in not only being valued by families for their personalities primarily - not their eggs, as useful as they are and certainly never their meat - but also as household recyclers, producers of natural fertiliser for gardens and allotments. With a community online of pet chicken keepers now numbering tens of thousands, and that number itself dwarfed by the suggestion by the UK Pet Food Manufacturers Association that there are as many as 250,000 to half a million pet chicken-keeping households in Britain, it is evident that public perceptions and actions are changing, albeit slowly. The huge corporate, industrial farming concerns, however, in collusion with multinational fast food giants, stands opposed to animal welfare interests and perceptual change; what we can call Big Farma - echoing the oft-referenced, similarly ruthless and myopic Big Pharma - will continue to environmentally pollute and consume land and resources in service to the only thing that matters to them, which is profit divorced from social and planetary responsibility. And still change comes, limited as it is but of benefit to every chicken saved. Sadly, only a fraction are - less than one per cent - but they become ambassadors for change themselves, as pet chicken owners introduce their birds to friends, relatives and even schools. This visibility of former factory inmates living natural, happy lives - the lucky few - does a great deal to change habits and thinking.
And let us note, the dreaded bird flu has never materialised in back garden or truly free-range flocks. Bird flu has only ever shown itself in stressed birds kept in factory conditions or packed tight and stacked tall in markets. It is not hyperbole to suggest our own survival, certainly an avoidance of our decimation through a future plague, may lie in raising animals more compassionately and naturally. Every action has consequence, and not all consequences are predictable.
I applaud George Monbiots highlighting of the insanity that is factory farming, its inexcusable and unjustifiable horrors and the dangers to planet and people in allowing its expansion to go unchallenged.
    • Bigrunner to Andrew S Hickinson
    • Do you spend more time with chickens than people ?
    • Most people haven’t got the time or care whether a chickens got a personality or can count to five, what’s more important to them is if they can afford to feed their family.

    • ShiningCliffs to Bigrunner
      There are millions of poor people who have to be fed and food of all types needs to be produced cheaply.
      Eh what?! Beans and rice are a lot cheaper, better for you and the environment. Take up less space etc.

  •  Bigrunner to ShiningCliffs 
  •       Then you live on Beans and Rice.

    • Honyszke_Kojok to Bigrunner
      That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    • Bigrunner to Honyszke_Kojok
      I agree it wouldn’t to someone who possesses the Brain of a Chicken.

    • Honyszke_Kojok to Bigrunner
    • Classy

      • Chris Swan Comment
      • You have big sheds, but nobody's allowed in. And in these sheds you have 20ft high chickens, and these chickens are scared because the don't know why they're so big, and they're going, "Oh why am I so massive?" and they're looking down at all the little chickens and they think they're in an aeroplane because all the other chickens are so small.

      • Bigrunner to Chris Swan
        Swans are bigger than Chickens.