Organic chicken is one of the foods we are looking to buy organically and locally as our family consumes more poultry than any other meat. We located and visited a local organic chicken farm and egg seller recently. It was really good to speak to someone who knows about the chickens and the eggs they are selling. So here is our shopping comparison between mass-produced (probably caged) chickens versus “organic” raised birds.
Chicken - The Bad
- We have all heard horror stories about raised caged hens for the mass market and will refer you to documentaries such as Food Inc.
- Chemicals used in raising hens is also well-known and documented. See this Australian site for information on these two points.
Chicken - The Good
- The organic chicken we purchased is local – no long distance transport – good for us all especially the environment.
- Chickens are raised in barns (not quite free range) with access to natural light. This may have to do with the fact that to have an Organic certification, if the hens are outside, the ground also has to be certified organic.
- They are definitely not caged
- They are fed organic food (SPCA certified) and this program ensures hens are free from cages and are not fed antibiotics. See site for other animal welfare.
- They are not given hormones (its been illegal since the 1960's to do this in Canada) or antibiotics
- The cost comparison ~ the organic price was $8.50 a kilo and the Chain Store Brand was $5.30 a kilo with both prices for whole chicken (and not breast or thighs).
It is really good to know where and how the chickens, and eggs, were raised. From our research, we know that organically raised hens (and other produce) although more costly are well worth buying as the chemical free factor is of high value. We have also decided (try to) eat at least two meatless meals less per week. We simply prefer to buy the more humane non caged chicken and eggs especially from a local farmer.
- Hormone residues in meat from animal feed increases the risk of breast and prostate cancers? Some say yes and some say no.
- Are hormones used in all commercial meat production? For chicken no - it is illegal since the 1960's in Canada but is still used for beef production.
- Beef in Canada is still raised on growth hormones such as : estradiol (estrogen), progesterone, testosterone and Synthetic: zeranol, melengestrol acetate, trenbolone acetate.
- Did you know chlorine is used to clean processed chicken? Article regarding Russia not importing US chicken as chlorine used in processing.
- If you have the land, and the desire to run out and buy yourself 30 – 50 chickens for your own consumption, that is fine but you need a permit to sell any.
- BCSPCA list of certified farmers and certified retailers
- And will this question ever go away? Why did the chicken cross the road?
Bob Dylan: How many roads must one chicken cross?
Bill Gates: I have just released the new Chicken 2000, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Of course, you will have to purchase Microsoft Road.
Grandpa: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.
James Tiberius Kirk: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before.
Groucho Marx: Chicken? What's all this talk about chicken? Why, I had an uncle who thought he was a chicken. My aunt almost divorced him, but we needed the eggs.
Richard Nixon: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did NOT cross the road.
Kurt Vonnegut: There is no "why", there only "is". So it goes.
Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.