Russia recently stopped importing U.S. poultry because it is treated with chlorine. With less poultry being exported, analysts are worried there will be an excess supply of chicken in the U.S., as one explains, "If chicken products back up and overall chicken prices plummet, we would expect a wave of chicken features.” With a glut of cheap chicken “features,” agribusiness officials are concerned that other meat sales could be undercut.
New chicken-based products will be developed and marketed, from processed nuggets to more expensive items, but consumers should be concerned about what they are buying. Most people are grossly uninformed about the abuses and hazards of animal agriculture. How many consumers know, for example, that chickens are routinely treated with chlorine, or that the poultry industry puts arsenic in the chickens’ feed to promote growth and add a desirable color to the birds’ muscles (i.e. meat). In humans, arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney, and colon cancer among other problems.
In its chase for production efficiency, the factory farms have been narrowly focused on making animals grow as fast as possible, as cheaply as possible. That has led to using slaughterhouse offal and other waste products in farm animals’ feed and then spiking it with drugs, arsenic and other additives to promote growth. These practices have negative consequences for humans and other animals, including a greater risk of contamination by pathogens. Attempting to lessen illnesses caused by these, chicken meat is now treated with chlorine at the slaughterhouse.
With Russia rejecting U.S. poultry, more of it will be sold to unsuspecting consumers domestically, who have little or no knowledge of how it was produced. Agribusiness’ irresponsible practices need to be exposed, challenged and changed, and that starts with growing awareness and a recognition that “cheap” food usually comes with a price.