Cheap chicken. You get what you pay for.
To bring us cheap chicken, commercial producers have been dramatically speeding the growth rate of broilers. In 1950, chickens took 12 weeks to reach four pounds. Today, through a combination of selective breeding, growth promoters, and high-energy feed, broilers reach four pounds in just five and one half weeks.
This speedy growth saves us money at the check-out stand. It also kills a growing number of birds. Commercial chickens grow so quickly that their hearts and lungs can barely sustain them. As the demand for oxygen increases, their hearts beat more rapidly. If the demand continues, their right ventricles become enlarged and eventually fail. Called "ascites,"this condition kills millions of birds worldwide and costs the industry an estimated $500 billion per year.
More and more consumers are rejecting this false economy. They are choosing to pay more for healthy birds that are raised outdoors without the use of growth promoters or feed antibiotics. Their families get a richer supply of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in the bargain.
Interesting thoughts on your favorite protein!