Chickens: Freddy and Barney

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This is a photo of me in July 1976.  My parents were adventurous urbanites who wanted to live in the country and have a farm.  And so we moved from Australia to a remote valley in the Basque Country in the 70s and they ventured into large scale chicken farming.  But not for long. after a couple of years in business their ethical nature got the better of them and they went from over 30,000 chickens to just four in just over a year.  What the chickens ate, the conditions they were housed in, their forced lighting conditions, and that they never saw daylight, was a disturbing business to engage in; and so to the benefit of us all as a family, my parents went from large to very small in a very short time.

Apart from the fact that the European Union has banned the use of antibiotics and that antibiotics are no longer used in poultry production in the UE, the farming methods of the 70s have not changed at all.

Here in Australia the use of antibiotics in poultry continues as normal practice in non organic chicken farming, but apart from that it is no different from the farming methods of the 70’s in Europe.

So when not so long ago, I was asked by a friend why was it so important for me to buy organic chicken, I realized it was an ethical question.  By supporting organic free range poultry farming we decrease the demand for non organic chicken and so we have more Freddys and less Barneys:

Barney:

Lives a shorter life, about fourty days. But considering how he lives it might be a good thing.  He only gets 6 hours of sleep. Never sees day light and is raised in a large barn on  mixture of wood shavings and his own feaces.  Barney will never go outside and experience grass, real soil or daylight.  Barney is fed a refined ration containing antibiotics,  traces of chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides.

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Freddy:

All the opposite applies to Freddy.  Freddy is not barn bound. His life is stress free, and he can free range.  He is free to go outside all day, experience grass and feed on grain.  Freddy takes longer to grow and is leaner, but this is natural.  This is why you pay more for the life of Freddy than the life of Barney.

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Happy chicken having a rest in a shady spot.

Check this for more:

http://www.smh.com.au/tv/Food/show/Whats-Really-In-Our-Food/Chicken-4361301.html

Paula Ajuria

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