Even though there has been lots of exposure about this issue there are changes coming to our corner of the world. I’ve wanted to talk about this subject for some time now but honestly this subject always draws the negativism out this farmer and I end up not in a good place. Are you as tired of people who are willing to point out all the flaws, problems and injustices in any system but do very little to be part of the solution? Yeah me too. Education has a big role to play and I appreciate people who are trying to point others to a viable alternative, but for crying out loud quit your barking about this issue and get to work.
Factory farming has been an easy target on the small farmers hit list. It is the most stark contrast to our style for animal husbandry, community concern, quality of product and values. We think now we are able and willing to add our voice to this conversation because we will be offering in the next few weeks pasture raised chicken for sale from the farm. The label has been approved by the state of Texas and is currently being printed as we speak. This only came about because of some very hard work by farmers that have gone before us and a responsive abattoir. To both of them the greater Houston area should be very grateful even though they may never get credit for making the alternative to factory raised poultry economically viable. I’m sure other small farmers will choose to raise poultry now that Houston has the infrastructure for poultry now available commercially. Our family personally has opted out of poultry for a very long time as we had drawn the conclusion it was the responsible thing to do. For the last few years we had been raising chickens for our family only and keeping them in the freezer but were not able to share them with anyone. Well all that is changing now mister!
What I’ve not talked about that you may not want to know
The chicken industry has been both a leader and a follower when it has come to giving the masses what they want.
They do pour lots of cash into research and development to industrialize this process. The very essence of efficiency is described in terms of feed conversion, weight gain, texture and carcass yields. Even though the average person didn’t write a letter to a poultry processor saying “dear sir, I would like chicken raised faster with larger amounts of breast meat and available to me in individual cuts” our buying habits very much communicated that reality. And as all good businesses do they responded to the demand. In the 50’s and 60’s the message was clear to the woman of the home that her time was valuable and better off spent doing more productive things than domestic duties. Convenience began the mantra and has persisted throughout our culture ever since. Enter boneless skinless chicken breast and chicken for all three meals of the day. It would be an easy step to agree that the chicken was the obvious loser in this new found love for the most consumed meat in America but while the compromises made on their behalf we too suffered the same fate. Our health and body shape has followed the same graphic as the chickens. With obesity now being described as an “epidemic” and for the first time in recorded history children projected to not out live their parents due to a root cause of obesity related diseases. Seems like not only was the chicken manipulated but we may have been too. Not blindly eating the factory chicken not only rejects the in humane process that they go through but may also take a stand for the in humane process we are putting ourselves through eating ourselves to death.
An article appeared in the NYT yesterday. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/opinion/nicholas-kristof-abusing-chickens-we-eat.html?_r=0
Abusing Chickens we eat by Nicholas Kristof was not an entirely new thought, but was granted access to something very few people get to see. The article hi lights a poultry farmer featured in a video by Compassion in World farming. This farm was under contract with Perdue to raise 700,000 chickens a year to their specification. Perdue sends to the farm the chicks, the feed, and then picks them up to be processed when they are grown. The farmer provides the labor, chicken house and land to pull off this arrangement. Take a look at the video and notice the fear based marketing on both sides. All of them are hoping to appeal to an emotional response that they hope you have to encourage you to purchase or not purchase things.
What I’ve not talked about that you just may want to know
You may want to hear the other side of the story. The Barry Farm wants to do it’s part to make healthy, honest chicken to feed healthy honest people. We have begun to raise chickens out on pasture the way (in our opinion) they were supposed to. They travel 5 miles to the processor to limit their stress and we take every effort to give them a life of appreciation and respect. We are only going to sell chickens whole. No boneless skinless chickens here. We sincerely hope you will take the faith step to re learn or discover the pleasure and value a whole chicken is. For our family of 4 one chicken is never less than 3 meals. Don’t be intimidated we’d be glad to walk you through cooking whole or taking it apart, and I promise you will thank us for having your own flavorful and nutritious chicken stock on hand when ever you need it. We all get to vote with our wallets and now there will be a little more option for voting against a bad system. The Barry Farm and Lad’s Smokehouse are working hard to give your family a better option. Better for chickens, better for people and better for farms.