Jun 21, 2007

'Horrible, cannibalistic balls of faeces and feathers'

Chickens. Mick Hume doesn't like 'em and he's not crazy about Planet Chicken by Hattie Ellis, which is about factory farming.
Globally, chicken now account for the majority of the 50billion animals eaten every year. As Ellis notes: ‘The world is currently in the middle of what is termed a “Livestock Revolution”. This is the animal equivalent of the Green Revolution of the 1960s, which spread chemically sustained crop farming around the globe. In this case, it is about the rise of industrially farmed creatures.’

Now, to me this sounds like a fantastic human success story. Through the increasingly industrialised farming of chickens, producers are feeding the world by turning meat that, even in Britain, used to be reserved for special occasions, into an inexpensive everyday source of protein. That, surely, is something to crow about.

The message of Chicken Planet, however, is that the rise of ‘industrially farmed creatures’ is a bad thing. It assumes that there must be something morally suspect about ‘cheap’ meat produced by factory methods. More broadly, it is an attack on the development of industry and human society, and its separation from the animal world.

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