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Poultry – Factory vs. Organic vs. Free Range (Part II)

A commercial meat chicken production house in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Once considered health nuts’ territory, organic food popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Even Wal-Mart is jumping on the bandwagon. Recalls of everything from spinach to peanut butter are becoming more common and people are exploring alternatives. Organic poultry is one such option.

Organic chickens are not given antibiotics (unless sick), growth developers, or feed with artificial fertilizers. They are allowed to grow naturally and are usually not housed in CAFO’s ( Confined Animal Feeding Operations). That is why they are more expensive than factory birds. Factory chickens retail for about $.99 a pound, organics go for about $2.79 and boneless skinless can sell for as much as $5.00 a pound.

Organic farmers are generally seen by the public as good guys compared to industrial farmers. Visions of organic animals grazing in picturesque pastures, is the picture that pops into most of our minds. This is not necessarily the real picture. Organic chickens must have access to the outside, that doesn’t mean they get to go there. Some heavy lobbing is going on right now to get rid of that requirement. Some big organic farmers want to keep the birds indoors, just like the factory guys. Many organic farmers do not keep their birds caged but there are some mega farmers that do. Their Lobbyists’ want the term organic to mean, no man-made chemicals so organic farms could become just as large as their evil industrial cousins.

If humanity and respect of the animal is of concern then there are other terms you need to know. Free range and pastured are alternatives for you. I will go into those terms in my next entry.

Wishing all my fellow foodies and their families a happy healthy Thanksgiving. And as always I wish you Happy Eating.


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