05. Chicken – is it natural and ethical to eat it?

Hello and welcome back.

We are now on the hunt for which foods fall in to the natural and ethical slot. We are going to investigate animal-sourced foods first, in no particular order, and chicken is the first on my list.

The reason why I’ve chosen chicken first is because, when I was a child, my father who raised poultry asked me to carry a beautiful warm and trusting hen to a neighbour who had bought it.

I watched in horror as the woman wrung its neck, and that was the beginning of my revelations.

Of course, all fowl, domestic and wild, should be included in this category, including ducks, pheasants, quail etc.


Is it natural?

Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) catch, prepare and eat chicken as food?

Have you ever tried to catch a chicken? Unless you can trap it in a corner, chickens are surprisingly difficult to catch. You also have to consider that many of the ‘meat’ breeds are bred to be heavy and are therefore not able to fly.  Normal chickens can dart about and fly up to tree branches.

But, if you’re really determined and armed with a long stick, or a rock, you could catch a chicken. You would then be faced with killing the creature, and breaking its neck seems to be the accepted method.

Ripping out the feathers would be time consuming, and you would have to try to open up the bird to rip out its entrails. Perhaps a sharp stone would help with this. Or, you could leave the feathers on and entrails in, and let your fire deal with them.

Then, you would have to push a green stick through it and prop it over your fire. All of this is possible under our ‘natural’ rules, so the verdict is that chicken is natural food.

If you eat chicken, you may be interested in how chickens are caught commercially. Do not watch if you have any compassion for chickens.


Is it ethical?

a) In the above process, has the source of food suffered the least harm possible?

Well, I would have to say that if I was chased about and eventually felled by a sharp blow, or been grabbed roughly and had my neck broken, no matter how quickly, I would put this in the category of a lot of harm.

b) Has it had the best life possible?

This is easier to answer. If the chicken had been living in the wild with all the natural food it could want, and was free, then yes, it’s had the best life possible. Obviously, this is a far cry from caged hens, and even barn hens or some so-called free-range hens. Seven billion chickens are eaten in the US every year, and most of them are kept in cramped conditions with artificial lighting and even artificial food.

Here you can see how commercial chickens live until they die. Be warned – this is very graphic.

c) Is this food good for us?

This is an interesting question. If this is a wild chicken, and you’re not B or AB blood type (more on blood type in this post), chicken should be good for you. But, if it hasn’t been organically raised, you could be consuming all sorts of chemicals, including antibiotics (1), not to mention the effects of the food that chickens are fed (2).

Final verdict in my opinion

Chicken is natural food if it’s raised wild and you can catch and kill it with your bare hands, a stick or a rock, and then cook it thoroughly (remember only fire, no microwave ovens) to avoid any chance of contracting Salmonella.

It is not ethical to eat chicken because, no matter what you do, or how ‘humanely’ you catch and kill the animal, causing its death is inflicting the most harm possible.

The only way it could be ethical would be if you found the chicken already dead from natural causes.

So, chicken will not be added to the list.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Next post: beef


  1. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/poultry-farmers-using-more-antibiotics-linked-to-resistant-food-poisoning-bugs-a6859436.html
  2. http://www.pcrm.org/health/reports/the-five-worst-contaminants-in-chicken-product

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