Is our chicken contributing to the risk for more pandemics?
It’s mid-spring, and that means it’s time to start processing this year’s chickens! After a couple months of waning inventory, we have more chicken in stock now! It will likely sell out quickly, but please know we will have more and more chicken coming throughout the growing season.
There’s been a lot of talk about the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The main theory is that the virus originated in an open air meat market in Wuhan, China and is a zoonose, meaning it’s a pathogen that transfers directly or indirectly from animals to humans.
Zoonoses are nothing new. Ticks, mosquitos, rats, pigs, birds, and many other animals carry pathogens that can, in certain circumstances, jump to humans and that, in certain circumstances, cause disease in humans. But the real question is, what are those circumstances? And, how can we avoid future pandemics?
There are some that are calling for an end to live animal slaughter markets, claiming that unsanitary conditions of meat processing is what’s contributing to an uptick in zoonoses over the past 10 years. Some are promoting a plant-based diet and getting rid of farmed meat altogether in the belief that there’s no “safe” way to raise and process it. Some believe you need to thoroughly sanitize all groceries and fully cook (or should I say kill) your food.
However, to me it seems that this article in the Independent has the most level headed approach. It’s not livestock in general that’s the issue - it’s industrialized meat that’s dangerous.
Animals are more susceptible to disease when they are under stress. So animals that live in confined feedlots, lack exercise, or are fed an unhealthy diet would be a risk. Animals that need to be given routine antibiotics or hormones to grow are a risk. They have weakened immune systems, which is the perfect environment for pathogens to multiply and mutate. And, when they are confined together with little ventilation… well, you get the point.
Animals raised in natural systems where their health is prioritized makes for happy and healthy animals. The risk of disease is very low when you follow ethical small farming practices.
Our chickens are not contributing to the risk for future pandemics! They are raised in a “health-oriented” system!
Our chickens live in mobile coops. They have a roof for shade and protection from rain, chicken wire walls that provide plenty of ventilation, and open floors so they live on real biodiverse pasture. The coops are moved each day to give them fresh land. They leave behind wonderfully fertilized soil that regenerates fresh pasture.
On top of the seeds and bugs they forage for naturally in pasture, they are also fed a well balanced soy-free feed. Avoiding soy is another way to improve a chicken’s well-being (you can read more about this topic here).
They are not vaccinated. They are not given antibiotics. They are not given hormones. Heck, they’re not given anything synthetic. They are naturally healthy.
Now, more than ever, your food choices matter so much!!! Our vulnerable mainstream food system needs to change NOW.
Food producers need to stop producing the fastest, cheapest food. They need to start valuing animal welfare, regenerating soil, biodiverse ecosystems, and the powerful effects food has on human health. Because, gee, if everything could be in better health, that sure reduces the risk of disease.
You vote with every dollar you spend, and we really appreciate your votes for humane and health-conscious small farmers.