Why Chickens Need Antibiotics
There was big news this week when America’s third largest poultry producer, Perdue Farms, announced at a press conference in Washington, DC, that they were completely stopping the use of antibiotics in all chicken hatcheries.
It is excellent to hear that pressure from advocacy groups, consumers and alternative health media is making a difference in the food industry. Like confined cattle, poultry farms are quite barbaric. That is why antibiotics are used in the first place. The unsanitary conditions that animals and poultry live in creates disease. Antibiotics are required to keep it under control.
In 2007, Perdue Farms stopped using antibiotics for growth promotion. Now, they have removed them from the hatcheries. According to Chairman Jim Perdue, “We listened to our consumers and we are proud to have developed a responsible program that does not risk the medical effectiveness of antibiotics in human health, provides appropriate health care for animals and does not employ growth-promoting drugs.”
According to their website, animal antibiotics will only be used to control an intestinal parasite or illness in a sick flock. I don’t see how chickens can stay healthy in these inhumane chicken farms so I don’t believe for a minute that the majority of chicken from Perdue Farms or any other company will be completely antibiotic-free in the near future.
The Future of Chicken in America
The picture I put at the top of this article is how I like to think of chickens – happy, and running around in the outdoors. The reality is, almost all chicken consumed in the USA comes from chicken farms like the picture on the right.
I do eat some poultry, but always organic and cage free. I would rather not, but vegan-ism just doesn’t work for me. Because of my great love of all living things, I have to disassociate the food on my plate from a living creature. Most people probably don’t even think about it.
How can we make a change? Always buy organic, cage-free chicken, or grass-fed beef. Yes, it is more costly, but most Americans eat far more animal protein than they actually need. Just cut down. Quality over quantity and all that. Support the farmers who actually do treat their animals humanely. Do it for your own health, but also do it for the living creatures. Don’t support Perdue Farms or any other farm that would be so cruel. The only reason Perdue Farms changed their policy on antibiotic use is because of consumer pressure.
We can make a difference by changing our eating habits, deciding what companies we buy our food from, and consumer pressure. So start pressing, will ya?