Why We Shouldn’t “Eat More Chicken”

Last month, Eastern’s campus was buzzing as students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends congregated on the Kea Guffin Hill for homecoming festivities. I couldn’t help but feel sick as I looked at the long line of patrons in front of Enactus’ table, eager for a Chick-fil-A sandwich. I felt a combination of sadness, confusion, and disgust as I contemplated why so many Christians were supporting the most hypocritical overtly Christian company in the world.

Why is Chick-fil-A so hypocritical? My stance actually has nothing to do with CEO Dan Cathy’s views on gay marriage. Rather, Chick-fil-A’s hypocrisy stems from its use of factory-farmed chicken. Factory farming is, in fact, the greatest destroyer of God’s creation in the history of the world. If this assessment of factory farming sounds a little extreme, that’s because the situation is extreme. The billions of animals subjected to factory farming throughout the world live and die in a brutal system of torture and abuse. These animals are crammed into small cages, fed unnatural food, pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, and slaughtered in an excruciating manner.

This reality is painfully evident when looking at the average life of a chicken used for egg production. The chicken’s beak is seared off with a hot blade at a young age and immediately crammed into a battery cage where it will spend the rest of its life. These battery cages hold five to 10 birds who are given floor space equivalent to a sheet of paper, which prevents them from ever being able to turn around. The chicken is then artificially induced to yield high egg production and slaughtered after one to two years when egg production declines. This is in stark contrast to the reality that chickens can live as long as 20 years in a natural environment.

The stories of chickens used for meat production, cows used for milk production and all other factory-farmed animals is just as appalling. However, the brutal treatment of animals is simply the beginning of the destruction caused by factory farming. This method of food production is currently the leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, deforestation, ocean pollution, and waste throughout the world. Here are several statistics that illustrate just how bad the situation is:

• Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

• 2,500 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of beef, 900 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of cheese, and 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of milk.

•One to two acres of rainforest are cleared every second, primarily to erect factory farms and grow crops for livestock feed.

• Up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost every day due to the aforementioned rainforest destruction.

This destruction of God’s creation is something that Christians everywhere should seek to change. Perhaps our response should be abstaining from meat and dairy on certain days or every day. Perhaps it should be purchasing meat and dairy from local farmers. However, it should definitely not be supporting a business whose slogan is “Eat More Chicken.” In light of the aforementioned information, this statement essentially advocates for sin. As such, Chick-fil-A is the most hypocritical company I am aware of. Hopefully next year clubs at homecoming will sell products that contribute to building God’s kingdom on earth, not tearing it down.

Sources: Worldwatch Institute, Animal Feed Science and Technology, The Independent, Environmental Working Group, Water Footprint Network, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Healthy Landscapes, Rainforest Relief, Save the Amazon.

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