Why No Chicken?
Many people are somewhat aware of the problems with beef so they are turning to chicken to satisfy their belief in the need to eat meat. But with nearly 10 billion chickens eaten each year in the United States alone, the message may need to be clearer. There are strong reasons not to eat chicken or poultry in general.
The first thing a consumer should understand when eating chicken, or any other meat for that matter, is that they are eating a dead animal. In this case, they are eating a dead bird. The word “chicken” relates to an animal, NOT to “PROTEIN” or “FOOD”. Knowing this, the consumer will have an improved perception with the following:
1. Chicken meat is not nutritious
- A 3.5 ounce piece of chicken contains 51% fat with over 100mg of cholesterol. That is because it is a muscle tissue of an animal and all animal muscle tissue contains fat and cholesterol.
- Chicken meat will never contain fiber, complex carbohydrates, phytonutrients, or antioxidants that your body needs.
- Animal protein has been linked to elevated risks of various disease states such as types of cancer, diverticulosis, kidney disease, calcium loss, and osteoporosis (1,2,3,4).
- Chicken meat and other poultry contain 15 times more heterocyclic amines than beef. HCA’s are powerful carcinogens and may be one of the reasons meat eaters in general have a 300% higher colon cancer rate than vegetarians (5,6).
- A recent summary of 55 different studies found that over 62% of all prepackaged chicken are infected with campylobacter, while over 30% are infected with salmonella. Both pathogens cause serious food poisoning illnesses in humans.
- In a report studying the poultry industry, Time magazine stated that raw chicken meat is “one of the most dangerous items in the American home”, killing over 1,000 people per year and causing sickness in 10 to 80 million others. This is due to the massive amount of contaminating organisms that chickens carry with them from the slaughter houses to packaging.
- 72% of USDA poultry inspectors said they no longer eat chicken due to what they observe in processing plants.
2. Raising chickens to eat is an environmental burden
Raising 10 billion chickens per year creates a tremendous amount of excrement, bedding, silage, chemicals, and dead animals that find their way into our ground and water systems. In Arkansas, nearly every tributary of the Trout river is contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and nitrates from the nearby poultry farms.
Waste of Resources
It requires 700 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of chicken. Instead, farmers could produce 16 pounds of broccoli, or up to 20 pounds of other grains and vegetables. Over 100 billion gallons of water are used in the US annually for poultry operations which is enough water to meet the domestic needs of 5 million Americans. According to the USDA, it requires 6 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of chicken meat. Also, it takes 8 times the amount of gasoline/fossil fuel for production of 1 pound of chicken as compared to 1 pound of protein from tofu.
It is obvious that the water, grain, and resources that are used to produce chicken for food could much more efficiently be used to produce grain, vegetables, and fruit directly for human consumption.
>1. Cancer Res 1994;54:2390-12. Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. National Research Council. 19823. N Engl J Med 1990;323:1664-724. Am J Clin Nutr 1988;48:739-485. Nat Cancer Institute6. Food and Toxicology 1994;32 (6):505-515