103 – What Wings Are For
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I have an extremely powerful message today! Please listen to this from start to finish!
I have a very special guest with me today. Her name is Karen Davis and she was speaking ahead of me at the Charlottesville Vegetarian Fest. I thought her message was so incredibly powerful that I asked her to record a podcast with me right there on the spot. It was awesome and I think it will be one of the most powerful messages that I have ever had on my show in the past two years and 103 episodes!
I hope today’s message will be life changing for you. Please feel free to share it with family, friends, people you love, or everyone you know.
Interview with Karen Davis
I just met an amazing woman. Her name is Karen Davis and she is with United Poultry Concerns. She just spoke before me at the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival in Charlottesville, VA and gave one of the best talks I have ever seen!
Dr. Dave: “Tell me a little bit about what you do at United Poultry Concerns.”
Karen: “I started United Poultry Concerns in 1990, about 25 years ago. After learning about that fact that chickens are the largest number of land animals slaughtered for human consumption every single year, exceeded only by a number of fish. I happened to have a life long affinity for birds but I didn’t know chickens growing up. As I was learning about chickens and turkeys and how badly they were treated in the 1980’s, I decided I wanted to start an organization that would advocate for these birds that would focus on their plight and, as I have learned, their delight. So in 1990 I started United Poultry Concerns at a time when people were saying to me “you’re gonna have a hard time keeping an organization like that going because it’s hard enough to advocate for whales. How are we ever going to have enough people that support and care about an organization who is focusing on the plight and all of the terrible things that are done to chickens and turkeys in the name of food production?” Of course, I did not listen to those negative voices.
I started United Poultry Concerns and I can explain some of the things that we do. First of all, we are located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia which is one of the highest chicken production areas in the country. The Delmarva peninsula comprises all of Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia. At any given time in the Delmarva peninsula, which is a very small strip of land 150 miles long and 50 miles across, over a half a billion chickens are locked up in factory farms which are basically concentration camps on the Eastern Shore. These are the chickens that are raised by companies like Purdue, Tyson, and Mountaire. These chickens are slaughtered as six week old babies for the chicken industry. The kinds of chickens where you see three breasts in a cellophane package at the supermarket or you see this great big chicken on a rotisserie spit at a Boston Market. The story behind these images is a horrific story of extreme cruelty involving genetics and the terrible way that these birds are forced to live. Genetically, the chickens that are raised for the chicken meat industry, have been bred, inbred, and cross bred over and over and continue to be bred in these horrible artificial ways so that they will turn into basically a huge mass of breast muscle tissue. Because the birds are forced to grow so large in such a short amount of time, a baby bird at six weeks would weigh typically weigh less than a pound but chickens bred for the chicken meat industry are huge even though they are still babies. What’s happening inside the body of these abnormally bred birds are many things. All of them terrible for the bird. First of all, because they are bred to grow so quickly, their organs are not properly “organized” in their bodies. In other words, their bodies are disproportioned. These birds have very weak hearts and very weak lungs. Their heart and lung system cannot provide the amount of oxygenated blood that their abnormally large bodies is demanding. Consequently, these types of birds have heart attacks in their infancy. For every bird that you see in the supermarket in the form of a breast or chicken legs or wings or whatever, many millions of birds at the age of one or two or three days old. Because these birds grow so fast and so large in such a short amount of time, their skeletal systems cannot support their body weight. Consequently they are in extreme orthopedic pain. Just like people who are overweight and suffer from diabetes and other conditions and people who are extremely overweight can suffer from a condition known as osteo-arthritis. People with this condition suffer from terrible hip joint pain because the bones and the joint can’t support their body. These baby birds are suffering from basically the same disease. By the time they go to slaughter at about five and a half to six weeks of age, they are basically crippled. They are also very crowded in the chicken houses. The chicken houses contain anywhere from twenty or thirty thousand baby birds living basically on top of each other for the six weeks of life that they are in these houses. The houses are about five hundred to six hundred feet long. For as far as the eye can see stretches this haze of toxic pollution in which these birds live and breath through the entire lives. People who are under the impression that chicken is a health food could not be more poorly informed. None of that is true. These chickens go to slaughter sick. Many of them go to slaughter blind or partially blind with a burning eye disease called keratoconjunctivitis. Their eyes have been burned from the toxic ammonia fumes that they are forced to breathe for their entire life. Where do these ammonia fumes come from? Chicken droppings have a nitrogen component. The droppings are very small and when they are dropped on the forest floor, as in nature, the nitrogen is actually beneficial to the soil and to the health of the plant life of the forest. But when chickens are grown to that huge size, their droppings consequently very large. The chickens are fed a horrible diet which also affects their droppings. And then they are completely confined in these polluted houses. As all of this excrement is being decomposed by bacteria the result is a release of toxic fumes known as ammonia.
If you peak into a chicken house that has been empty for a few days, before the next flock is installed there, if you open the door just a crack as I have, immediately your eyes and throat are going to be assaulted by burning ammonia. When you breathe it, you are going to feel it in your respiratory system and in your throat. You’re gonna feel the burning in your eyes. And people that they are eating a piece of flash, even though they have been conditioned to believe they are eating a healthy food. They are eating a piece of flesh or an egg into which these ammonia fumes have penetrated. They are eating the flesh or an egg of a bird whose eyes burned for her entire life and who went to slaughter with what’s called chronic respiratory infection. The birds are almost always wheezing with the respiratory crud that is in their throats.
So this is the poultry industry. In the case of birds that are bred for meat, they have a series of processes that are used to disguise the condition of the bird. They have bleaches, chlorine dips, they will cut of all the diseased parts (which are then fed to your pets in pet food). The lowest and the worst of all of it is that they will gather it up and they will put back into the poultry and livestock feed. What that means is that when you eat these birds you are eating all of this terrible refuse.
They have had this horrible diet forced upon them. One of the things they do to the birds to force them to keep eating unnaturally and turn them into a big mass of meat is to give them something in their diet that causes them to feel empty even though they are full. The cruelty of the poultry industry could not be exaggerated. There is every kind of manipulation of the bird’s genes, their genitals, they are living in filth and in darkness. They want them to be immobilized. When you look back into traditional farming practices, the idea of immobilizing animals who were being raised for meat came during slaughter time. They forced the animals to be sedentary because when you are sedentary the muscle tissues does not develop normally. Muscles that are used are tough from activity. They want their muscles to not develop and remain soft and kinda mushy.
A reporter with the Guardian in the UK was investigating the chicken industry and described a chicken house as “a sea of stationary grey objects”. Anyone who follows the news will know that we are constantly hearing of salmonella outbreaks. This is because when you force any animal to live in overcrowded filthy buildings without air or sunshine it causes stresses. These birds immune systems cannot cope with the load. They cannot cope with billions and billions of pathogens assaulting their body all the time. It is a fact of life. Millions of people around the world come down with what most commonly called stomach flu – cramps, diarrhea, and other abdominal stress. This is almost always a result of eating a poultry product, either chickens, turkeys, or eggs. These diseases are ubiquitous throughout the world are are known to be considered “diseases of production” otherwise known as man made diseases. These disease are related are known in the poultry industry because you cannot raise animals under these conditions and not have diseases. And the industry will concede. These chickens are sitting in their own excrement, breathing toxic gases, on crippled legs. They are assaulted by every type of micro-organism that is making them sick. Many of these organisms get passed on to the handlers or to the people consuming the chicken who then become sick. And now we are finding that bacteria are becoming immune to these antibiotics, many of which are needed to treat humans of the diseases they got from eating poultry products.”
Dr. Dave: “I’ve got a question for you. You’ve given a tremendous amount of information. And I don’t want to date this but we are coming up on Thanksgiving and Christmas, holidays where it is typical to serve things like turkey, chicken, and eggs. Why should my listeners/viewers not go out to the store to buy poultry this season?”
Karen: “This should be your first real Thanksgiving. And you are contributing to the first real Thanksgiving for the turkeys and the chickens that you aren’t going to eat anymore. Your good fortune should not be based on their bad fortune. And that is a reason in itself to enjoy a delicious vegan Thanksgiving. Turkeys and chickens love to be outdoors in the wide open. we have had many of them at our animal sanctuary in Machipongo, Virginia. We tell people that when you are eating these animals you are eating misery. There are just so many reasons not to eat turkey. We have the capacity, and the culinary genius, as human beings to create products that are healthy for people, that don’t have the cruelty, don’t have the contamination, don’t have the cholesterol, and taste really good. We can be pioneers in the kitchen. We urge people to be pioneers in the kitchen. Let this be the first real Thanksgiving. No one wants to give thanks over something whose life was frightful.”
Dr. Dave: “For the people who will respond that they only purchase free range organic poultry and that they have had a great life, how do you respond to them?”
Karen: “The answer is that even under the best circumstances, they are still not good circumstances for animals that are raised for food. They are manipulated, the birds are usually debeaked, the turkeys are almost always artificially milked and inseminated. What we have discovered in our recent investigation of Whole Foods is that basically Whole Foods isn’t telling the public the truth. They are charging consumers inflated prices for birds who they are telling the consumer were raised humanely. But when the suppliers were investigated, it was discovered that these birds are raised in the same horrible stench filled polluted factory farm conditions as the so called regular commercial birds. So Whole Foods is really a scam when it comes to their animal products.”
Dr. Dave: “Finally someone tells us the truth. Karen, I really appreciate your time. Can you tell my listeners/viewers a little more about your sanctuary and how they can reach you?”
Karen: “United Poultry Concerns is based in Machipongo, VA. We moved there in 1998 to accommodate our chicken sanctuary. We have an outdoor aviary for our chicken. And each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day, we invite people to come from 2pm-5pm to our all vegan potluck Thanksgiving celebration. We ask that everyone bring a vegan dish that could serve about four people. We tell people that if you cannot bring a dish, to come anyway. If you are not yet a vegetarian or vegan, it is wonderful to come to an event like this to discover the wealth of animal free foods.”
Dr. Dave: “Do you have a website or other contact?”
Karen: “Yes, our website is www.upc-online.org.”
Dr. Dave: “Karen thank you so much. Don’t be surprised if you see a bus pull from Maryland pull up with a bunch of vegans on it.”
Karen: “Sure, as long as you’re on it!”
Dr. Dave: (laughing) “I might be driving it”.
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