Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Arsenic in chicken production

The above article discusses an arsenic-based additive used in the diet of 70% of all the chickens raised for meat in the U.S. It seems like such an obviously bad idea. Why would anyone expose people and the land to the risks discussed in this article? It seems like the profit incentive for the producers isn't even especially great. What we find telling about this story isn't anything particular about arsenic. What we find telling is what the story says about how the conventional food production-marketing-and-consumption system works. We've had enough exposure to conventional beekeeping to know that the same kind of -- from our perspective -- foolishly shortsighted and irresponsible chemical and pharmaceutical use is common in beekeeping. Clearly, comparable practices are at play all across the spectrum of our mainstream agricultural system, a system which, unfortunately, encompasses the modern "USDA organic" movement. The fundamental problem as we see it is a soulless, dollar-driven production system too far detached from the community to be accountable to down-home common sense. Consider, for instance, did you know before today that arsenic-based additives were used in the diets of most meat birds raised in the U.S.? It was news to us, but shockingly to be expected. If you, like we do, find that practice unambiguously wrong-headed, is there any other conclusion than to say that the whole faceless, industrial food system is inherently untrustworthy? Will you join us in rebuilding all across our county and region a fundamentally different and adversarial system of agriculture?

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