“Organic chicken” may appear like a contradiction at the first glance, but here, the term “organic” gives an indication of how the chicken was reared and raised, which is an important deciding factor when we pick our meat from the market.
For widescale consumption, various kinds of poultry animals are raised in different ways. And mostly, the final meat product sold commercially usually carries that information- labels such as “free-range”, “cage-free”, “all-natural”, and “organic” can be found, and have subtle differences separating them.
Organic chicken refers to that type of chicken meat that has been produced differently without using conventional methods, and this farming practice has some clear industrial practices that make it a wiser option to pick. Chickens raised as such are given organic feed and access to the outdoors, instead of being kept in paper-sheet-sized cages. They are served with a balanced diet and kept in hygienic places, which helps control the propensity of any disease outbreak. The use of antibiotics and feed composed of other animal parts is prohibited, and antibiotics are given to the animals only when their use is unignorably required.
Speaking of its nutritional content, it contains fat and proteins and is rich in vitamins B6 and B12, along with zinc, potassium, folate, and magnesium.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONALLY FARMED CHICKEN?
Since conventional farming is mainly profit-driven to produce meat in a mass way, many farming practices and conditions mentioned above are blatantly ignored, and replaced by unhealthy and even inhuman farming methods and measures.
Under the conventional, intensive system, birds are kept for long hours under artificial light, so that they remain awake for longer, thus eating more and growing fatter more quickly. Also, the birds are fed with special products (especially a high amount of protein in their diet) that foster abnormal growth and their movement is almost completely curtailed. As a result, the chickens have poor immunity, with the risk of developing various infections running high. Antibiotics may be administered to them on a regular basis and not just when they are in sickness.
In contrast, organically farmed birds are reared in more humane ways that resemble the natural conditions and pace of their growth. That is why while conventionally farmed birds are made to mature in some weeks, those raised organically take a few months.
The birds get unrestricted access to pasture, roaming the farming grounds freely. They are given only organic feed that includes organic grain, provides, and supplements.
Also, they are only administered antibiotics or other drugs in circumstances presenting a lack of other options. These are required to be hormone-free as well.
By now, it is quite plain that birds reared with conventional and often draconian methods are harmful to both the birds and the consumers. Therefore, organic chicken meat has its own specific advantages which can be enjoyed by poultry lovers, but only if they understand their food right.
Some key benefits of switching to organic chicken meat are-
- More hygienic and healthier rearing practices ensure that the chickens grow at a more natural pace, instead of at an artificially quickened one. This implies that the chickens are indeed healthier to be consumed because they would contain less saturated fat and higher omega-3 fatty acids- which is ideal for effective cardiac functioning.
- Since the chickens are given an organic feed and almost never given antibiotics and/or other drugs, the chances of the absorbed pesticides and other medicinal elements making it to the final human consumers are curbed to a significant extent. This makes it a safe, and disease and parasite-free consumable item in comparison to intensively farmed chicken meat.
- Similarly, organic chicken does not carry harmful bacteria like salmonella or helicobacter pylori, which have a deteriorating effect on human health.
- Even though it depends on an individual’s taste buds, as per many meat consumers, organic chicken apparently tastes more natural and less “artificial” than intensively-bred chicken meat. This can be perhaps plausibly true because since the poultry is raised with cleaner and non-adulterated feed and supplements, the meat can possibly taste less “artificial”.
- Even though not related to our bodily health, organic poultry farms may be more environmentally friendly than industrial poultry establishments, thus having a smaller carbon footprint, which benefits our planet in a larger sense.
- In a similar tone, switching to organic chicken meat is a wiser option because it helps ensure that the animals were treated as humanely possible while they were alive. Additionally, this in turn contributes to reforming the unethical and unhygienic practices in the poultry industry, thus placing more accountability on producers and businesses.
Organic chicken is both a safer and more ethical choice for fulfilling our daily dietary needs. It proves to be beneficial for its human consumers as well as for the planet in a broader perspective.