Letters to the Editor
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Eat Less Chicken
Dear Bay Weekly:
Thanks to Ryan Grim for his excellent piece Big Chicken Gets the Flu [Vol. XII, No. 13: March 25]. Unfortunately, animal welfare is a notoriously low priority for the broiler chicken industry.
Selective breeding for rapid growth may make chicken farming more profitable, but it takes a tremendous toll on the birds who are forced to grow at unnaturally rapid rates. These birds have high rates of leg disorders, respiratory problems and heart failure.
In fact, the industry trade journal Feedstuffs reports that broilers now grow so rapidly that the heart and lungs are not developed well enough to support the remainder of the body, resulting in congestive heart failure and tremendous death losses.
One might think that chicken producers need to maintain good stock welfare to ensure productivity. Unfortunately, this is often untrue. Two poultry industry researchers recently asked in a report: Is it more profitable to grow the biggest bird and have increased mortality? For a large portion of growers&Mac226; pay is based on the pound of saleable meat produced, so simple calculations suggest that it is better to get the weight and ignore the mortality.
Aside from problems related to genetic manipulation through selective breeding, these birds are also forced to live in overcrowded, ammonia-polluted environments. After an average of only 45 days, the birds are rounded up, thrown into transport crates and shipped through all weather to their slaughter.
No federal or state laws regulate the treatment of Marylands hundreds of millions of broilers. But each one of us can help prevent their abuse every time we sit down to eat. We can choose vegetarian foods.
For more information on welfare problems in the broiler industry and for vegetarian recipes, please visit ChickenIndustry.com.
Paul Shapiro, Takoma Park: Campaigns Director, Compassion Over Killing
Dear Bay Weekly:
Is Bidding on the Bay [Vol. XII, No. 14: April 1] for real or is it an April Fools joke? With things the way they are today with greed and all that, you just never know.
However, I suspect Homeland Security would have something to say about selling off our land to a foreign country, except, er
um, arent we already sorta doing just that?
Glenda Roberts, Salisbury
Editors note: Its a joke, and more were sprinkled throughout that weeks paper, following our custom when April Fools Day falls on a Thursday, the day our weekly is distributed. Just as Chesapeake Bay is not up for auction, neither do horses talk nor did G. Gordon Liddy review the play Watergate: The Musical! Still, many readers wondered, and phone lines have been busy setting them straight.