The question of food ethics: What's your chicken policy?
It may well be that 2008 is the year when questions of ethics and choice really come to the fore. In the UK, coincidentally or not three major TV programmes on the subject have been airing this week. As I mentioned earlier the BBC is airing a second season (series) of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, a program about the slaughtering of animals for human consumption. On Channel 4, two heavyweights of the TV cooking world, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, are tackling the issue of battery raised chickens. In the U.S. Michael Pollan, author of the seminal The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has a new book out, In Defense Of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (I haven’t read this yet). Here in Switzerland, the leading supermarket chain stopped selling traditionally raised fois gras, at least in the German speaking parts of the country.
I don’t really have hard-and-fast rules on food. I’m not a diehard locavore, I’m not a ethically-motivated vegan, I buy conventionally farmed produce as well as organic. One food I do have a firm line on is chicken. Ever since I found out in what conditions factory farmed chickens are raised, I have only bought organically raised ‘happy’ chickens and eggs, as I wrote about two years ago. I think that chicken is a sort of bottom line type of food. A lot of people nowadays may be avoiding red meat and pork (is pork a red or white meat? I’m never sure), but they do eat chicken. And even if you don’t eat chicken, you may eat eggs.
So, I’m curious. What are your personal policies when it comes to chicken? I’ ve put up a poll about it - please vote, and tell me your opinion in the comments there.