Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's That You're Eating?

Have you ever sat and ruminated over the thoughts about where your food comes from before digging into that scrumptious meal in front of you?

I'm sure most of us would have heard of the urban legend regarding KFC and it's 6 legged headless chickens running around in cramped cages (no, that does not make sense upon reflection, unfortunately) before they're killed and marinated and then cooked into either OR or the Hot n Spicy versions. It is also said that it is called KFC now instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken because apparently, it is not chickens that we eat but the 6 legged, headless creatures! Of course once again, I need to stress that this is only an urban legend, and countless people still line up at their counters day after day...

Anyway, the other day I had watched half a show on tv about chickens, and how there are free range chickens and non-free range chickens, based on how they are reared in farms. Obviously, free range chickens are treated better than non-free range chickens. In fact non-free range chickens are fed to the point of obesity in cramped areas to maximise profit. There have been times when I've eaten at certain places, only to discard my chicken halfway upon gagging on the amount of fat on it.

Now I understand that it is impossible for farmers to provide a large area to shelter the birds comfortably as they're reared to be killed for food and not as pets. I have even touched this topic on mangrove crab rearing which I was dead against. It raises the question of us being at the top of the food chain and our responsibility towards those who are unfortunate enough to be eaten by us. The thing is, besides cruelty (not much space to run, having your eggs taken from you, etc) the people who end up eating the birds are not in a very good position either. I mean, we eat chicken because it's supposed to be (somewhat) healthy white meat, provides protein, but if the chicken itself is raised unnaturally with all the growth hormones and allowed to be obese, what is going to happen to us?

24 comments:

  1. Very well put. Our responsibility is to ourselves as well as the animals. We have no idea what we eat, really. And mostly I don't think we care. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Hoozle. :)

    I agree with you regarding the part about us not really caring

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's the chicken's way of getting back at us...

    I mean, I've read about plants and insects who change characterstics to stop being hunted.

    Similarly, if you think, why shouldn't chickens start becoming naturally less nutrient (as a survival tactic) so that they aren't hunted?

    Imagine, centuries later, science might prove that chickens don't contain protein anymore... And then people will stop looking at them as nutritional food...

    But on second thoughts, what is nutritional about KFC?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Food is food is food. I know we treat animals like shit but that's how we treat each other too.

    And yeah Rakesh, protein free chicken, not likely

    ReplyDelete
  5. I disagree, Kartik. Some 'food' is not food. And just because we treat humans and animals badly doesn't mean it's ok.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You make a good point. But what is not 'poisoned' nowadays anyway. We can't even be sure the fish we eat are safe enough since there are many more pollutants out there. If we're thinking of turning vegetarian, then there are chemicals and pollutants for that too.

    The only thing to really know what you eat, is to eat whatever comes out of your backyard. At least you know the chicken you rear are free from most chemicals. Now, the thing about slicing the head off the chicken you've reared and perhaps come to love...

    ReplyDelete
  7. KFC is gross, let me just put that out there. In terms of fast food chicken, Popeye's is the only option (or Church's, but I've never had it).

    Homemade chicken is the best though, and it'd be heavenly if you could raise the chicken yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rakesh: So have I... the one I remember most is where elephants stopped growing tusks. As for the chickens, they're not hunted per se... they're just fed all sorts of stuff. In fact it's a good life, until they realise that there is a better life out there. Perhaps there is a reason why they're known as domesticated chicken. As for KFC, I don't think it's nutritious either. I was just trying to make fun of the urban legend.

    Kartik: But don't you think if we treated animals less like shit, the food they're going to give you will be of better quality? Same with people... treat your waiter nicely and you'll not get stuff which is not supposed to be there in your food :)

    Hoozle: I concur...

    Mad Penguin: You know, you're absolutely right about growing veges /rearing animals to really know what you're eating. If only it were that easy...

    Woozie: Homemade is the best, no doubt about that. It's the food outside that can be gross, and not necessarily fast food places only, unfortunately

    ReplyDelete
  9. That's why i'm now vegetarian :p

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well you've definitely given us some food for thought...

    KFC actually hatched the scheme to change their name only because the marketing folks thought having the word Fried in their name would turn away potential healthy-eaters. Now they're left with egg on their face ova the decision.(guess healthy people don't like 6-legged chickens heehee)

    I actually lived on a feedlot as a child (and a farm) so I know what it's like raising livestock - you can do it very humanely up until you start trying to raise more than you can use yourself (i.e. 10,000 chickens is more than a family would need, and more than can be contained in one place and raised healthily and humanely).

    But like you said, TS, you're just trying to make fun of the urban legend, which you did quite well...hope I didn't ruffle any feathers by digressing a little. This was a fun post to read today - keep us entertained the rest of the week buddy, I'll be going thru internet-withdrawal out on the trail!!!

    P.S. Colonel Sanders wasn't even a real colonel. (gasp!)

    ReplyDelete
  11. It is sickening to think about where our food comes from. This post could be good for weight loss.
    jj

    ReplyDelete
  12. We once had some chickens, and when my mom put one on the dining table, I couldn't eat it at all. How could I eat something I had come to know??? It distressed me.

    You might want to take a look at this video. It shows what they do to the chickens that KFC sells. Or you might not, since it's pretty gross.

    ReplyDelete
  13. where/what have you eaten that had that much fat on the chicken? that sounds horrid

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't eat chiken, but I do eat eggs. And I feel strongly enough about humane treatment of chickens that I pay the extra to get eggs from free range chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  15. sabrina: ok... makes sense, althogh I don't see myslef going down that path :)

    Mike: Thanks for the info on how it is on a farm, as well as that on the word Fried, who were they trying to hoodwink? Colonel Sanders, not a colonel. Gasp indeed!

    jj: Well, if there's anyone who wants to lose weight... then they can come over and read this, LOL!

    lizza: Same way I look at rabbits... my cousins have them as pets and they're so soft and cute. Could never eat one, though... I will check the video when I get a chance. Thanks.

    i want one so badly: In the canteen at my workplace. It's too hot to go out for lunch, so I have my lunch there if I'm hungry. Otherwise I just don't eat.

    citizen: I wouldn't mind doing that as well if I knew we had free range chickens here... but I have a feeling we don't.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm a chicken lover, no, no, I don't mean I love chickens, I just like eating them (LOL!) and sometimes I'd rather not know about how they were raised or if they had a proper education (LOL!) before I eat them cos if I knew I would probably just give up chicken altogether!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh no... I'm sure they were educated. They only had to do it in cramped situations!

    ReplyDelete
  18. kudos to Citizen Of The World.....Kartik summed it all up nicely.....I've seen the video Lizza referred to...

    If anybody'd ever had to kill an animal to eat, they'd realize that the "chicken video" isn't as bad as it looks - animals have to be killed before they get eaten! (except in some countries) Unfortunately, it really is impossible to do this humanely and with dignity on a large scale...the lesson is: raise your own animals, treat them well, and if you can't kill and eat them, then DON'T! We're all here on this planet together, so let's all treat each other kindly and if we have to eat a leaf to save the life of our-friend-the-chicken then let's do it! I've never eaten part of an animal that I didn't feel comfortable with the method it was killed by.....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your last question is an excellent one. If these chickens are raised with unhealthy practices, then humans lose the health benefit of eating them.

    It's nearly enough to make one turn vegetarian.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Michael: Thank you for your insight. In fact I did watch another show where a bunch of city people stayed at a farm and learnt to cook and also witnessed the killing of sheep in the farm. Although the practice is humane (it was a proper farm and all) it was nevertheless pretty unnerving. To be honest, if I had to kill my own animals I might just be vegetarian!

    Travis: Thanks... It's nearly enough to make one turn vegetarian. I agree...

    ReplyDelete
  21. All there are all sorts of issues that can arise I'm sure. I mean it's not like the growth hormones can just get cooked away in a deep fryer.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Exactly... and gene mutation does not necessarily take one day either... it may pop up four generations from now.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I heard that KFC urban legend to. Though I heard that they were legally required to change their name to "KFC" instead of "Kentucky Fried Chicken" because what they were serving could no longer be legally considered chicken. That has since been debunked. That aside, you should see (on youtube somewhere) how they slaughter these animals. Not only is it cruel but its extremely unsanitary. The meat and other edibles lay in the animals urine..sometimes for hours before being cleaned. HgH us obviously another concern. One of the reasons why I eat organic and mostly veg.
    ps. Those farmers have plenty of land to let their chicken roam around. If they did it in shifts, instead of packing 11k chickens into a half an acre. Let them roam and feed 2k at a time on a property only 2 acres should be easy enough.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think the link to the video you mentioned might be the same as the one given by Lizza somewhere up here...

    I think that idea of doing it in shifts is an excellent one by the way... whatever it is, poor chickens....

    ReplyDelete