More than a game of chicken

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Although I don't, all who consume chicken might like [or not] to read the Economist's recent detailing of the industry.  This is how it starts:

"In a shed on a poultry farm just outside Colchester, in south-east England, thousands of chickens sit on piles of their own excrement. The facilities will not be cleaned until after the birds are killed, meaning they suffer from ammonia burns and struggle to grow feathers.  Ants and maggots crawl over the bodies of those that have not made it to slaughter.  The chicken industry is a dirty business, but it is also a profitable one.  ..."

If you make it beyond this you'll find lots of stark numbers ...

  • chickens comprise 23bn of the 30bn land animals living on farms across the globe
  • the total mass of farmed chickens exceeds that of all other birds on the planet combined
  • in the the OECD, pork and beef consumption has remained unchanged since 1990 but chicken consumption has grown by 70%
  • the price of chicken has fallen by about a quarter since 1960
  • it now takes farmers 1.3kg of grain to produce 1kg of chicken, down from 2.5kg of grain in 1985
  • in America chicken breasts are 88% more expensive than legs; in Indonesia they are 12% cheaper

... and interesting detail on a global business that provides cheap food for megazillions of people.  Here is a graph showing the growth of chicken consumption, and this is how the article ends:

"... despite growing interest in vegetarianism and veganism, surveys find little evidence that many people in the rich world are turning into herbivores.  People may like flirting with plant-based diets.  But what they really love is chicken."


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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