Spring 2008 Poultry Press

Debeaking: The Defining Moment for Me


Ashley & Spencer
Photo by: David Bergeland, The Courier News

By Jane Kramer

About four years ago I watched a film that our Unitarian Church was showing about farmed animal abuse. I forget the name of the film but remember that it was narrated by Mary Tyler Moore. Looking back, I realize it was actually a very mild depiction of factory farming. I’ve since seen much worse.

The defining moment for me was watching baby chicks being debeaked. Each baby chick closed its eyes and winced as it encountered the debeaking machine. I sobbed, and haven’t eaten meat since.

I appreciate your magazine and what you are trying to do for chickens and other poultry. I write any letters you suggest. I write letters to the newspapers. I tell my friends and acquaintances about the tortures of factory farming. Many people, like me, believed there were laws in place to protect animals and that those used for food lived good lives and were humanely killed.

The truth is so much more terrible and most people are shocked and upset. I see people making changes in their lives and at least seeing that this is a terrible thing, factory farming.

Our torture and use of living creatures comes at a huge price to humanity, physically, spiritually and morally. You can’t hurt someone else without first hurting yourself.

Enclosed is a picture I cut from a local paper a few years ago. It speaks volumes. Keep keeping on, please! – Sincerely, Jane Kramer

Jane Kramer is a member of United Poultry Concerns. She lives in New Jersey.
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Debeaking: It Isn’t Just “Factory Farming”

Debeaking (“beak trimming,” or as the turkey industry now calls it, “beak conditioning”) was invented by farmers in the 1930s as a “solution” to the frustrated pecking behavior that develops in chickens forced into crowded confinement. As poultry scientist Ian Duncan has emphasized: “Feather pecking is NOT aggression; rather it’s foraging behaviour gone wrong. The solution of industry is to chop off beaks.”

What Can I Do? Say ‘Bye to Shells from Hell

Try Ms. Ticklefeather’s Pumpkin Spice Cookies!

Makes 36 cookies Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

These delicious soft cookies are made with a flaxseed & water puree to replace eggs. Flaxseeds can be bought at most grocery stores.

3 Cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/2 Cup sugar or other sweetener
4 Tablespoons flaxseeds
1 Cup water
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 Cup solid-packed canned pumpkin
½ Cup water
1 Cup raisins

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside. Blend flaxseeds and water in a blender for 1 to 2 minutes till mixture has the consistency of a whipped-up raw egg. Add oil to flaxseed mixture, and blend to mix. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the pumpkin, additional water and raisins. Mix till just combined and no dry flour is left. Drop by tablespoons onto an oiled baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes till lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet with a spatula, and place on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe by Jennifer Raymond in UPC’s Replacing Eggs booklet with 16 fabulous chicken-friendly recipes! $3.50 includes shipping direct from United Poultry Concerns – order now!


Spring 2008 Poultry Press