R.J. Ruppenthal  @  ChelseaGreen

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Raise your own chickens and beat salmonella

Posted on Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 12:17 am by R.J. Ruppenthal

At my house, we have eaten eggs every day this week. Unfortunately, because of the salmonella outbreak that's taken a few million eggs off the market, most Americans cannot make a similar statement. My family feels perfectly safe eating eggs because they do not come from hundreds or thousands of miles away and are not produced in some factory farming warehouse. Our eggs are produced about thirty feet from the kitchen by happy hens who have plenty of space to thrive and are free to eat a balanced, organic diet. Transportation, packing, and handling? Listen for the clucking, go out and pick up an egg, and walk it to the refrigerator or crack it right onto the fry pan.

Chickens do not need much coop and run space to be raised humanely; they are descendants of wild jungle fowl which do not roam but customarily keep to a very small patch of forest. If kept in appropriate conditions, chickens are not loud or smelly. They are low-maintenance pets and prolific producers of nutritious food. There is no reason chickens should not be kept in every backyard. And no person should have to eat the eggs, meat, or dairy products that come from factory farms. Let's grow our own food and put those barbaric crooks out of business. If you're like me and do not have the space for cows or goats, then buy (what you cannot produce) locally from a smaller, trusted dairy. Either way, the risk of salmonella is practically nil, whereas numerous studies have shown that factory farms increase its risk exponentially. It is time to reject the "quantity" paradigm that the USDA and mega-corporations have pushed on us for too long at the risk of quality and food safety. Let's go back to "quality" (and reality) even if it costs a few cents more. And if you have your own chickens, or goats, or honeybees, or carrots, or beans, or pears, etc…then it costs a whole lot less anyway, and both the taste and nutrition are far greater than anything in the stores.

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