Poultry experts at Texas A&M say that rumors that the Poultry Industry has used steroids or hormones or some kind of harmful chemicals to achieve the advances that have been made are simply not true. They maintain that the progress has been possible by using ordinary selective genetics. They also insist that the industry overall is good stewards of both their animals and the environment. Craig Coufal is a Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Poultry Specialist.
“I think the issues of cages and cage space gets back to people applying human feelings and human desires to the animal and the animal doesn’t perceive the world, the animal doesn’t have the same needs that we do. And so us placing our personal feelings upon what we think is appropriate for the bird, may not be the right way to approach it.”
Coufal says that whether a chicken is converting feed into eggs or into meat, it must be well taken care of.
“They have everything that they need. They have a comfortable environment. They have a clean environment. They’re off the ground so that they’re not susceptible to bacteria and worms and other intestinal infections. They’re supplied clean feed. They’re supplied clean water. They’re supplied medications if required. They have everything that they could possibly ever need to be happy, healthy, and productive.”
Audrey McElroy says when people find out that she is a poultry scientist she has one clear message.
“I buy this poultry meat and I feed it to my children because I have a belief in what the industry is doing. I go in all the poultry houses, I go into processing plants where the products are produced, and it’s going to be one of my favorite choices of meat.”
McElroy stresses that poultry farmers are also good stewards of the environment.
“Whether it be the bedding material that the birds are on, the air that’s being emitted from the poultry houses, all of that is regulated, and so they are good stewards of the environment and looking at ways to feed the birds better, so that those environmental regulations are met. It contributes more to cropland. So it’s really a cycle of what goes into the birds and comes out of the birds and then how that renews the land for sustainable agriculture.”