The article “If a Chicken Exists Only to Become Chicken Nuggets, Does it Really Matter How She Lived? The Connection Between the Humane Treatment of Animals, Health, and Food Safety” was recently published on the Huffington Post. The author, Elizabeth Kucinich, believes it really does matter how a chicken is raised mainly because of the effects it can have on consumers. The root of the problem is the unsanitary conditions most chickens are raised under and how these conditions lead to Salmonella or E. coli contamination in humans. To eliminate these risks, Kucinich suggests a law in which companies must regulate proper treatment of poultry. The problem with this is the unwillingness of factory farms to change their procedures due to productivity, money, and time. The chances of change are very slim because these businesses are in no hurry to slow down their procedures and spend more money on something that doesn’t appear to be a big issue (though Kucinich provides facts that proves it is). Along with this, a law is not likely to be passed because these farms have come up with a system that works very efficiently and effectively that the government only notices the money intake rather than the inhumane conditions.
In one respect, yes it does matter how a chicken lived even if it only exists to be slaughtered, because it directly affects those who eat it, but in another respect, it does not matter. I see another side to Kucinich’s points that she did not mention. I am a firm believer that animals do not and cannot have feelings or emotions. Yes I think they can experience torment and anxiety, but not sadness or dread, so in this regard, why would it matter how a chicken lived it’s life if it will inevitable be killed? It doesn’t know any better, so why treat it any differently than the methods of today? That’s where Kucinich points come into play. It’s not necessarily about the animal; it’s about the health of the person eating it. It makes me wonder what I’ve been eating my whole life, but also why haven’t I gotten sick? If it were really that serious, wouldn’t the government have gotten involved already? Though I do see the harm in our current food system, I still can’t change my habits until I see the harm with my own eyes, which I think is true for a lot of Americans. We can hear the facts and read the information, but often real change only occurs when we’ve faced a problem head-on.