Over the years, one of the things I have become most passionate about is the humane raising of animals for food. Yes, I know I could just stop eating them and solve the problem completely. However, we choose to limit our meat consumption and support farms that raise their animals humanely. All of the pork and beef I buy comes from a small local farmer who raises them out in the field as humanely as possible. One of the meats I have the most trouble finding locally is free range chicken. I usually end up buying something called ‘naturally raised’ or ‘cage free’ which I realize doesn’t mean very much. If I want to buy free range chicken I have to hit up my local CSA which is expensive and a bit of a drive. I have been putting it off and feeling guilty about it. So, when I got an email today about the #ChangeYourChicken challenge, I thought it was a bit of a personal message. I decided to start figuring out where I can buy free range chicken to make this food switch a little easier for me and my family.
Free Range Chicken: Expensive but worth it!
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The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is encouraging people to take the Change Your Chicken Challenge. What is this? Basically, you pledge to, for 30 days, purchase chicken only from places that prohibit the most extreme factory farming practices. Nearly nine billion broiler chickens are raised for meat each year. Most of those chickens are raised in overcrowded, artificially lit sheds with less than a square foot of floor space each. It seriously makes me ill to see how these animals are treated. Personally, I am okay with the eating of meat but I firmly believe we should treat these animals with respect and compassion while they are alive.
Think you won’t be able to find free range chicken or other sustainably raised options? The “Change Your Chicken Challenge” provides you with the tools you need to navigate the confusing labels found on chicken products and to make more humane buying decisions. These tools include a label guide, product location finders and email support throughout the 30 days. You can request humanely raised chicken from your grocery store using this online card.
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The ASPCA recommends you look for these three labels: Certified Humane®, Animal Welfare Approved® and Global Animal Partnership® Steps 2 and above. These programs certify a range of better farming practices, but all three prevent the worst kind of crowding, filth, sickness and suffering endured by chickens on most factory farms.
Want to take the #ChangeYourChicken challenge with me?
Just sign the pledge and get started!
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.