From Perdue to pasture-raised egg layers

Photo by Sandrine Hahn via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Thanks to a tweet from Twilight Greenaway, I discovered this great post at Grist (a version of which originally appeared on Eat with Care). As Greenaway tweeted, “Who couldn’t use a little uplifting news? ‘Food, Inc.’ chicken farmer has new humane farm.”

Carole Morison is the chicken farmer profiled in the must-see documentary, Food, Inc. As Caroline Abels describes in the post, we meet Morison early in the film.

Wearing a face mask, she steps inside one of her chicken houses, where she is raising broilers for Perdue. Inside she reveals a crowded sea of birds bumping into each other and squawking in agitation. Chickens are shown taking a few steps and falling down — due to the weight they’ve been bred to put on rapidly. Others are on their backs, gasping for breath inside a chicken house they cannot leave. Carole picks up a few dead birds and throws them in a pile.

She walks back outside, removes her face mask, wipes the dust off her face, and says with disgust, “That’s normal.”

But it’s far from normal today. Carole Morison is still stepping into her chicken houses in Pocomoke, Md., but now the chickens follow her. Rather than flee, they try to roost on her shoulder. Now she doesn’t have to wear a face mask, and she’s hopeful that she may be able to take antibiotics again after years of developing allergies while using Perdue’s antibiotic-laden feed.

The story goes on to describe Carole and Frank Morison’s reinvigorated life as farmers on their Bird’s Eye View Farm, where they now pasture-raise chickens for their eggs. As Abels notes, “the farm is certified by Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), a program that sends auditors to farms to make sure they’re complying with AWA’s strict animal welfare standards…. The farm is the first on the Delmarva Peninsula to be AWA-approved.” The full article is well worth a read, so check it out here.

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The Conscientious Omnivore is away. This is an encore presentation of a post that originally appeared in slightly edited form on May 4, 2012.

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