Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

18 May 2012

The "Horror" of Industrially-Raised Chickens: Drugged with Medications and Killed at the Rate of 175 Per Minute


A study conducted jointly by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Arizona State University, published in March 2012, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, uncovered a slew of drugs (antibiotics, antihistamines, antidepressants) in the feather meal (leftover ground-down plumage), fed to commercially-raised poultry.  (See the New York Times article, “Arsenic in Our Chicken?” by Nicholas D. Kirstof, 4 April 2012.  Quotes from "Guess What Drugs and Illegal Substances are Showing up in Chicken", by Richard Schiffman, published by Care2 on 1 May 2012.)  


A reader has kindly referred to the abstract of a February 2012 article published in The Science of the Total Environment.  Feathers from these chickens are also used as an animal feed additive and as an organic fertilizer.

The antiobiotic fluoroquinolone was banned by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for use in poultry production to stimulate growth, yet it showed up recently in 8 of the 12 samples of feather meal tested in the study.


“Traces of the arsenic compound Roxarsone were present in almost all of the samples of feather meal.  Farms administer arsenic to chickens to turn their flesh just the right shade of pink that consumers find attractive.  Yet, in June 2011, the FDA  gave Pfizer 30 days to discontinue selling Roxarsone, a proven carcinogen…

“Other substances that the scientists found include acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, Benadryl, an antihistamine, even Prozac, an antidepressant.  Farms feed chickens these mood-altering drugs to reduce their anxiety.  Chickens are anxious because they are bred on overcrowded and filthy factory farms.  Stressed-out birds develop meat that is tough and unpalatable, so they need to be sedated.  Yet, chickens on tranquilizers sleep all the time and do not eat enough.  So they are given high doses of caffeine (which was also found in the feather meal) to keep them awake at night to feed and fatten up.

“We create hellish conditions for our livestock, then we drug them to keep them numb.  Then we drug them again to wake them from their pharmaceutical stupor.  The we drug them (with antibiotics) to grow faster.  Then we drug them so their flesh will look healthier.  Then we drug them to withstand the disease epidemics that our overcrowding is creating.

“Then, of course, we drug ourselves every time we take a bit of factory-farmed poultry.”

Here is a further description of our unhealthy industrial food production system.  Gabriel Thompson wrote an article about poultry processing plants, “New Rules Mean New Hardships for Poultry Workers” which appeared on 14 May 2012 in The Nation.  The author worked at such a plant and described the future “horror show” of speeding up processing – thanks to new USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) regulations – from 91 chickens per minute to 175 per minute.  The plant kills and processes nearly 1.5 million birds a week, 78 million chickens per year.   Thompson’s article describes the extremely difficult, unhealthy conditions of the plant:  “punishing work paying poverty wages”.  Think of the cruelty to the animals and to the workers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Meris,
    In the US, feathers from these birds are then used as animal feed and in oganic fertilsers....
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22244353

    Read Christopher Bryson's history of the Flouride Deception ...
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/38097028/Flouride-Deception

    ReplyDelete