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Government Bails Out Chicken Factory Farmers

Chicken in a cageThe demand for chicken in the US is down, and we can only speculate as to why. Many argue that tough economic conditions have caused Americans to decrease their meat consumption and opt for lower-cost foods. Chicken inventories are 13.1 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

In response to the gap between product and demand, the U.S. government is making a special purchase of 40 million dollars worth of chicken products, which will be distributed to school lunch programs and soup kitchens.

“Thanks to prevailing price trends, the government is getting a bargain on high-quality food to help meet the nutritional needs of the clients of these programs, while the industry is getting some relief from excessive inventories,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack also praised the deal, saying “it will also provide support to the broiler industry and the many small independent poultry growers that depend on the industry for their livelihood.”

Yet Paul Keller of argues that it’s factory farms that will benefit from the purchase, an industry deserves to be punished for it’s poor treatment of food animals. He argues that many people choose a vegetarian diet, or forgo factory farmed meat, in protest of these practices. “That the government would come in and save the meat producers when they refuse to submit to the demands of consumers is a blow to meat abstainers everywhere,” he writes.

Although even Keller argues that the meat should not be left to rot, his take unfortunately seems overly optimistic. Obviously, the conditions in which most factory farm animals live their lives is a danger both to the our health and the environment, and it should be addressed. Yet in a time of uncertain economic stability, a reduction in meat consumption has more to do with consumers’ bank accounts than making a political statement.

Also Read:

Chicken Nuggets: Made from Pink Goo

Consumer Report Gives Chicken Nuggets Failing Grades

Vegetarian Diet Myths Debunked

August 19th, 2011

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(Page 1 of 1, 1 total comments)


It makes me angry to know the government is bailing out another irresponsible industry.
Why couldn't the factory farms DONATE the surplus chicken to schools and other programs so it wouldn't go to waste?
Isn't it possible that factory farmers over estimated the demand for chicken and raised too much and that accounts for part of the surplus also?

I need to write to my State legislators and tell them that I don't want to support factory farming practices. Growing up in NYS, we used to have more farm land but now it's being turned into housing developments. We need to keep our small farms!
I eat no red meat or pork. I have chicken or turkey twice a week or so. I do not agree with factory farming AND the mistreatment of farm animals in general.

I buy my eggs locally and spend the extra dollar or two to get better quality, better tasting, local free range eggs.
If more people substituted quality eggs at least once a week for the lousy hormone ridden beef they eat, I think the industry would change.

posted Aug 31st, 2011 4:54 pm


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