Friday, September 04, 2009

Grinder Chicks?

I'm sure this video and story is making the rounds now, but I've been waiting to put it up because of the guest post. Also, it gave me some time to think about my thoughts on the subject ... and after much reflection I realized I'm not sure where I land on this subject. Actually I guess I have an idea of where I land, but the answer is fairly complicated. I'll get to that, but first the video in case you haven't seen it yet (and an article from Fox News).

Here is where it gets complicated. I think there would be a fairly large segment of Americans (maybe even a majority?) outraged at the idea of the chicks being ground up alive because they aren't needed. On the other hand I am completely convinced that a large portion of those that were outraged woudn't not be very excited about the prospect of paying substantially more for eggs or or poultry products (because one of the reason of getting rid of these chicks is because they will be slow growing for the meat market).

So really, I believe it is a catch-22. I do not believe it is very good stewardship to waste so much potential and that is why I think more dual-purpose (both meat and egg layers) chickens are the way to go. But, the average consumer in American wants eggs cheap and on demand and to get that high capacity output our large commercial farms need super birds. And I guess the super egg laying breed boys aren't quite as super as the girls.

What are your thoughts on the subject ... no big deal ... over zealous hidden camera guy ... or something to think about?


Grumpy Misanthrope said...

I, personally, believe that is a market for capons. I know that I would buy them, were they available. And I'll bet there is a French restaraunt or 3000 that would buy them as well, if they were of decent quality (capons aren't expected to be the big succulent fryers the American public wants from Tyson, they are a stewing bird). These hatcheries, and their bird growing customers, are missing an opportunity here. Mostly out of greed. But partly from laziness and stupidity.

Rob said...

I don't mind the grinder or the "rough sorting." I do find the de-beaking cruel and felt bad for the chicks that fell out of the sorter and were left to die. I hope this will prompt more people to raise their own poultry or buy from neighbors.

Jean said...

I found this post rather interesting because I am living in middle of Hy-Line country. In fact, I've gathered eggs several times in egg-production building on a private farm. I can show you where most of Hy-Line buildings are here. Hy-Line is biggest employer in this area so I knew many people who have connections there. I viewed the video to wee if I recognize anybody. Nope, but that lady who explained looked bit familar.

I recognized Hy-Line as purely business who cater to public demands. From that point of view, I find nothing wrong with what was shown.

Currently I have nothing to do with Hy-Line chickens and eggs. I raise my own. Yes, I do buy eggs from the store. Trend for me is to raise enough chicken in my backyard to supply most basic egg need. When I want to make noodles, I have been leaning toward buying bulk from small farmers. Piece of mind knowing that there are less chemical used on caring for THESE flocks!!

One con about raising own chicken in Hy-Line is who can I ask to tend to them while we're on extended trips? Hy-Line forbade all its employees to own any chicken nor even caged song birds on their properties. I cannot ask them to do chores for me...

Ethan Book said...

Jean - I do agree with you that it is just the business and it is catering to what people want ... That is where I see such a dilemma ... I don't see it as good stewardship of resources, but on the other hand it is what is being demanded by the public through their purchases.

Grumpy - That is a good point, I'm not much of a large business kind of thinker, but you are right about finding an alternative market.

Jean said...

I send links to a friend of mine. Here's interesting take from this friend. Copied and pasted unedited.

To me, this is propaganda authored in the pit of Hell by demons tasked with creating an Earth Goddess worshiping false religious system.

The video does not advocate finding a different way to kill chicks (although I can't think of anything more painless than that high speed grinder) or forcing Hy-Line to watch their drop offs and killing the birds immediately instead of allowing them to slowly die on the floor.

No, it pitches a vegan diet (no meat, dairy or eggs) as the only "humane" way to deal with these problems.

I read in the book of Genesis, both in the garden account and the post flood account that humans are the pinnacle of God's creation on earth and that we are to subdue and dominate the earth. That includes eating animals and their byproducts.

The scriptures are full of stewardship references that say we are not to destroy the creation and abuse our dominant place at the expense of animals and plants. I interpret those references as meaning we are not to be capriciously cruel to animals or pollute an ecosystem with total disregard. However, I am fed up with this PETA and Earth Goddess worship inspired B.S.

Karen Deborah said...

I hate it. I hate large chicken farms. Personally in order to see the small farm come back with chickens handled they way God intended for them to live, I am willing to pay. I don't think that grinding these birds up to feed back to the chickens causes healthy animals or people. The food industry has cow and pig grinders too. Feeding cows to cows is one of the suspicious practices that may contribute too mad cow disease.
I find Jean's comment very interesting that in order to work for this company you have to agree not to raise your own chickens. Bet a lot of the workers don't eat chicken.
I do buy organic range fed chickens and eggs. I pay $5.00 for one dozen eggs. One whole chicken can be $12 to $15. Being a nurse and having worked in oncology, I am convinced that these unhealthy practices are causing disease. You can pay for the food, or the doctor but we all pay.

Karen Deborah said...

Ps I also agree with Jeana about PETA I am a meat eater and intend to stay one. If Christian people would set examples of good stewardship then we would all gain. I don't think those chicks know what hits them with that grinder, but I still hate it.

Scott said...

I haven't watched the video and don't feel a need to. I can tell you that I'm not shocked by the practice and at the same time I'd rather not see the images.

Jean's cut-and-paste surprised me a bit because I don't think all vegans are idol worshiping demons and I don't think all Christians think Genesis gives them permission to wantonly grind up the animal kingdom. I don't know much about the "Earth Goddess", but I'm pretty sure Saint Francis would disapprove.

I think the video and the related press is a positive if it forces us, the food consuming American public, to stop for a moment and consider all the ramifications of our food system.

To Karen's comment about the workers not eating chicken - as a teenager, I worked on a chicken farm (broilers not layers) and I haven't eaten chicken since then!

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I thought I would jump in on this just because of what Scott and Karen said. I also butchered chickens growing up, and have only been able to eat poultry the last few years - IF it is already off of the bone.

My parents wanted a steer at one time but never got one because I probably would have stopped eating beef.

Now look where I'm at!! I hope it tells everyone just how much I love Ethan! But there are a few rules. Nothing that we eat will be named, and I don't want to know which one gets put in our freezer. :)

Okay, so a little off topic, but I'm allowed!

Yeoman said...

I definitely eat meat. And I've killed a fair amount of the meat I eat, both in the game fields, and from our own herd. And I have eaten a cow that we named.

I haven't watched the video, and I don't intend to. But what I'd note is that when we're at the point that we're grinding chicks up, we've taken the factory farm concept a bit too far.

It is true that we have dominion over animals, to be sure. But we're still part of nature. There's something highly unnatural about this, and indeed about a lot of how modern poultry is raised. A return to a more natural method of farming, much more expensive though it may be, seems to be warranted to assist in avoiding the conditions that give rise to something of this type.

Jean said...

HyLine ship chicks oversea so there's foreign demands also. HyLine doesn't allow any other birds to be kept than their own on any employee's property is one of many ways to keep bird diseases at bay. Twenty years ago, you could walk in any of HyLine chicken house unannounced without needing to do anything first. BUT now, that is impossible. Easier done on private farms but not supposed to allow that. You must sign in with timestamp. Must don on provided overall, hairnet and boot. You must spray hands and soles of boot before entering next room. The current requirement is that there is no new chicken house being built within four miles of existing commercial chicken house.

Can you think of better way and cost-effective to get rid of unwanted 20,000 male chicks? I cannot think of any better than the grinder. Nobody is buying male chicks nor old hens. In article, HyLine said they'd be happy to sell them instead but there's no buyer.

If it is proven to me that there is almost no chemical and engineering pumped into them and their feeds, I'd be one of their bigger customers!!

One way we can combat this 'un-natural' way of farming is to slowly educate the public little by little.

My friend may be a bit overzealous. At work, boss overheard the verbal outbursts and asked friend questions about spiritual things. Interesting, me sending links provided a chance to witness to this boss! Anyway, I have a few thoughts to share but am not seeking quarrels. Have PETA and similar groups ever professed to embrace BIBLE, particularly on why Jesus died for us? If one person is not of God, then who is he/she is of? Bible said if one is not of God, then he is of Satan. Satan and his workers can be very subtle to the point of appearing as an angel of light. Some true Christians may chose to be vegan because of physiological effect butchering have on that person. That is fine with me as that's their choice, the way they are. But for the Christians to use PETA (and similar groups) philosophy and reasoning to support their way of life and to push them on others? Something is not right there.

Bill Kennedy said...

Your right on stating that most people don't like to see the reality of the low prices they demand. Productivity has to be extremely high at these places for them to be profitable and keep prices low. I remember last year my wife complaining of $1.50 a dozen for eggs, now with have 2 hens and enjoy our own eggs! I'm ok with grinder chicks as they go fast and probably never knew what hit them. They probably could be more diligent about the ones that fall through the cracks and get them to the grinder before they suffer too much.

I agree if you don't like what you see buy your chicken meat and eggs from your friendly farmer.

Jean said...

It was interesting Sunday dinner. One family have two chicken house and another family have one chicken house- all belonging to HyLine. We all have discussed this little video. We all agreed that this is purely business. One new chicken house "owner" spoke of putting old hens in special cart of where hens are gassed so they're dead before leaving the coop. Leased owner don't do that part, but HyLine does. Guess where leased owners get their free eggs? Yup, discarded eggs (those that doesn't meet HyLine's standards). I think of that whenever I see deviled eggs provided at local meals.

I don't think I will comment on this post again unless someone else want to know more of whatever it is.

Melina said...

so if you are an environmentalist at all, look into the greenhouse gasses given off by all factory farming....and before you're carried away by the cute chicks in the grinder, ask yourself about the workers with basic respirators on, but what is coming from that machine when fluff and guts and bone meets metal?
and also, could they just gas the little guys? there a better way? ...what do they do with the ground babies? are they dog food or thrownin the nearest river??

These are just some of the issues that came up to me when I saw that.

I love chicks, and I feel for every baby that is culled...especially with no real reason...because its hard to believe in a country where people dont have food that there isnt some sort of secondary market for male chickens...but this is unfettered capitalism and this company is thinking how to best serve its stockholders and owners...not how to best work within the larger system of the planet...and that only comes these days, unfortunately, via government regulations.

Hopefully we will see more involvement by this new administration in how our food is handled and produced...the corporations cant and wont do runs hand in hand with the health crisis and with the environmental crisis, and its something that really has to to be overseen by a health related agency that is actually funded and empowered to serve the people of America rather than a global agenda!

take care everyone! We live in interesting times...


Melina said...

there has been much discussion of this video in the backyard chicken movement, where folks want only hens because roosters make noise.

To me the point is more that one would obviously want the grinder to be encased in a sealed container because of the spray that would undoubtedly get into the air and onto the other chicks and the workers.
Preons are disease that are not destroyed by conventional methods and any possibility of a new emergence of a mad cow sort of thing is enough of an issue to not want spray from that grinder in the open.

next, I am opposed to the vegan movement and the PETA folks, and not because I don't love animals and keep quite a few of them, but because they deny the very nature of the animals that we are, and though we do eat much more meat than we probably did in earlier times, we cant deny that it is part of the diet of the human animal...and also, what happens in a world where the line of predator-prey is broken?
Look at parts of India;
a world where you cant kill vermin is a world where the black plague does away with large swaths of the human race on a regular basis.

next, environmentalists in the news are loathe to press it too much, but 1/3 of the earths greenhouse gasses purportedly come from factory farms. Maybe not poultry farms but definitely this movement of humans demanding quick production of deformed and weak meat forced to grow quickly, that dont even provide the same nutrition as ones bred and fed differently, cannot be good.
It could be that the very way that we are producing the 99 cent per pound meat is what is going to weaken us as viable animals in the Darwinian scheme of things, and the overuse of antibiotics is gonna allow the growth of new and incurable strains of disease. so its not just the gasses there...its factory farming.

My entire aim now regarding meat of all kinds is to try to find something that walked around outside during its life. I also prefer no hormones because of my young son, and my own fragile system...and am less worried about the antibiotics because as someone who raises a small specialty flock of chickens, I find it hard to care for them without the occasional dose of something or other...course, I can control our intake of the their output during those times though, and thats what its all about!

So, beyond the cute baby is cheap in chicken land, and as someone with a great respect for the personalities of chickens, I can attest to the tragedy surrounding all of real life, when you get down to it, but realistically, every day a hen lays an egg that will in reality replace her....they are hardy things and they live a short but intense life when allowed to have a normal life of freeranging and interacting as chickens.
Alot of chicks dont ever make it out of the shell, and many are tragically killed by really silly accidents.
I wouldnt choose to grind the roos, mainly because of the spray...but apparently, some scientist who thinks he/she can judge the perception of an hours old chick found this to be a very quick and humane way of doing the deed.

I am concerned with hanging them from their heads to debeak, and debeaking in general...but I dont know the alternatives...possibly hiring more workers ...oh my!! that involves paying more people and possibly benefits if the evil government gets involved!!

All factory farming is a bane on this land...I dont believe in the corporatizing of what humans need to live...from food to medicine to housing...the government could give subsidies to small farmers and encourage more farming, but they tend to not do that and even pay farmers to not produce to allow overseas corporations to flood our markets with plastic fed animals and irridiated bio engineered foods...
this is the problem....let us radiate our own food and let us eat by the seasons like we did before all this craziness happened.

Melina said...

please excuse that pts one and two of my post are backwards and start with the lower one first!

One20 Farm and BluGiRlinK said...

it is sad
but whoever said the consumer ahd to be right?
We need to educate the consumer of what is right, what is local and what is in season.
I am glad my kids question why we have New Zealand apples a the store when Ohio has plenty of apple orchards.
this makes me even more want to farm and raise my own meat!

Scott said...

I'm not a farmer,but I do I hope to have a small family operation someday. But, I wouldn't consider this to be good stewardship of resources. Above all else we have to be true to something and that type of agri-business is not being true to our purpose here on earth. Just my humble opinion.

Issa said...

I think a lot of the people who want cheap eggs on tap also wouldn't be all that upset by this video, especially with the "eat vegan" sermon-y bit at the end. For me, personally, though, it's definitely something to think about. I *do* care how animals are treated and killed, and I am also willing to pay more for that. I'm even more willing to just raise my own animals for food, and chickens and eggs are definitely on my menu next year after I finally get going with my new homestead.

Lanny said...

Right off the bat I'd like to say that a capon is a castrated male chicken, much like a steer and is actually very succulent, but the Leghorns used for egg laying are not exactly the first choice for capon production. It is a tedious process (I've watched it be done, daughter has even done it)not sure someone would be up to doing thousands and I am sure a hidden camera man would be all over that also.

Lots of comments stirred up on this one.

I believe full disclosure is a good thing. Unfortunate that here it happens to be a tool of propaganda. My dad would always say, if you can't handle the deed you ought not to eat it. But then I think that ought to go for every thing we partake in and perhaps the things we do would be more thought out.

Chicken Coop said...

I'm one who believes animals should be treated properly. I never heard of this "grinder chicks" term and appalled that it goes on. I believe a better solution to getting eggs is to raise your own chickens. They don't take much space and don't cost much in food and they will lay eggs at least a couple years. When they no longer lay eggs you can retire them or send them off to be slaughtered for food for your household. Of course you could also slaughter them yourself but if you did you would likely stop eating chicken.

Anonymous said...

Can we develop a way of forcing all the eggs to hatch female? It must be possible, perhaps by controlling the temperature or injecting a hormone or some other obscure method.

Anonymous said...

This disgusts me. And yes, I eat meat. However, I try my darndest to eat hunanely raised/slaughtered meat. This isn't humane. Why don't they find a use for these chicks? Wouldnt' even dog food prosper if they grew a little? I mean, really, this takes factory farming to a whole, new, unbelievable level. Know your farmer kids.

Anonymous said...

I have seen part of this, the grinder, but not the beak cutting. I'm a Christian. This sort of stuff breaks my heart. It's fueled by greed and that my fellow believers is a sin. When people are purchasing houses for hundreds of thousands of dollars, fancy cars, and the list goes on!, but think it's ok to do this so they can have cheep eggs, IMHO need to re-prioritize their purchases.
God designed the world to work together, and this is not working in harmony with His design.
I'm not saying you need to go out and become a vegan, but every dollar you spend votes for something in a capitalistic country.

Anonymous said...

I can pretty much guarantee that if you stood in the grocery store with a grinder and a box of chicks and said, "if you don't want to pay $6 for these eggs you'll have to toss a chick into the grinder" most people would pay the $6. The vast majority of people out wouldn't have the guts to butcher their own animal but they are plenty happy to pay someone else to deal with it. Our industrial, prepackaged, sanitized society only sees the end product and not the rough and tumble process. That's why we will never change our behavior to match our "morals"... sad.

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