173 Feather Meal? What?

Have you ever heard of feather meal? Me neither… but guess what… it is a byproduct of feathers. (It has a clever name.) This stuff is added to the feed of chicken, pigs, cows and fish. Who ever thought of feeding animals feathers? Apparently there are places where my imagination doesn’t go.

This stuff was analyzed by researchers at Johns Hopkins. It is known that feathers accumulate drugs and other chemicals. The researchers found some antibiotics (that can be gotten only with a prescription) which were banned for agricultural use by the FDA in 2005. So… does that mean the ban is being ignored or that continually feeding feather meal re-exposes the chickens to the drugs? I don’t know… maybe both.  

One third of the samples contained antihistamines and most samples contained a pain reliever (acetaminophen) found in Tylenol, aspirin free Anacin and other OTC pain relievers. The reason the chickens are given these drugs is to calm them down because confinement makes them agitated; I’d be agitated too. Also, most feathers contain caffeine. The chickens get caffeine to keep them awake longer so they eat more and therefore fatten up sooner. So the plan is… calm them down, keep them awake, fatten them quickly. Who thought of that plan?

Another study showed that 9 out of 10 chickens have been fed arsenic via the feather meal. But it is such a small amount that it should not concern you. It shouldn’t? And what is this for?… it’s to kill parasites and fatten the chickens.

In addition, the antibiotics that are banned in the US may still be in use in China. China? Do we need to think about what they do in China? Well… yes… because about a quarter of what we import is from China.

Chicken is really a big business; the average American consumes about 100 pounds of it a year. Think of it… 100 pounds of dead flesh that contains antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-histamines, caffeine and arsenic. I think I’ll pass on the fried chicken lunch today. What is your choice?


Choose Well

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