I am a tender hearted person, really. I blink back tears when reading sad stories, watching advertisements designed to tug at the heartstrings, and go to great lengths to avoid maybe possibly slightly hurting someone’s feelings.
On the phone, my mum was telling me about this show she had been watching. ‘Jamie’s Fowl Dinners‘ had arrived in Australia.
I don’t like watching or hearing about animals suffering on their journeys to become food. You might say that I am wilfully ignorant. But there was no way I could ignore it this time because it was my mum telling me.
She said, ‘Did you know that chickens only grow for 42 days before they’re killed to be eaten? They grow up in cages and there’s not enough room for them to stand up. Because they don’t stand, they never grown bones properly. Their bones can’t even carry their own weight!’
‘EEEE, stop it, waaah!’ Tears were practically flowing down my face as I imagined the poor chickens, too fat and weak to stand up in the crowd.
‘Isn’t that interesting?’ mum marvelled. ‘I never knew!’
‘I wish they could grow chickens without brains,’ I lamented. ‘Just chicken bits that aren’t connected to feelings.’ Perhaps for some people, a chicken-sized brain is small enough to not worry about the chicken’s feelings.
Chicken is my favourite meat but I could no longer plead ignorance. From now on, I will only buy free range chicken. I already buy free range eggs.
Last week, I was proud of myself because to make sauteed chicken breasts with olive and caper sauce, I went straight to the fridge cabinet with the free range chickens. I didn’t even glance at the standard chickens.
I am lucky that I like leg pieces (thigh and drumstick) more than chicken breast. Chicken breast is very, very expensive. The free range variety is around Â£10 for two pieces. I used to buy chicken around once a month. To manage the extra cost, I will probably continue buying at the same frequency but smaller amounts.