The debate in the West about organic or non-organic food never failed to amuse me when I was in Nigeria. I lived in a Country where 80% of our food -fruit, vegetable, meat grew at their natural God-given pace. Yes Sire! Bulls are slaughtered at the ripe old age of 2yrs, Cows at 5yrs, the hardy local poultry takes a year to get to an eatable size. Only the genetically engineered broilers and cockerels can be relied on to get obese in 8 weeks.
I took naturally maturing, non-fertilized and non-hormone stimulated grown food for granted.
Till I came to the UK.
And I tasted beef that didn’t taste like beef.
Chicken that I marinated overnight but was still tasteless after steaming.
Carrot that tasted sweet but metallic and left my lips and tongue itchy.
Banana that was gigantic but sweetly bland.
Then I understood.
I've even heard there’s organic and non organic milk too. Though I can’t really be bothered about that. I’ve been drinking inorganic powdered milk all my life..lol. In fact Cowbell (a popular powdered milk brand) contains vegetable fats instead of butter fat; if that’s not inorganic I don’t know what is!!
What really gets my goat is the mighty debate about free range poultry and caged poultry.
I can understand if you tell me you like free range poultry because they taste ‘Better’ (from the added insect and veggy flavor in their diet). I assume this great taste also extends to their eggs.
You can tell me keeping food producing animals in good health is essential to maximize their productivity for man.
You can complain about poor hygiene practices in Poultry farms.
You can tell me about over-crowding.
You can even complain about the additives in their feeds which might not be okay for human. (mind you, the above complaints are seen in both poultry systems!)
But please, please, spare me the platitudes about happy free range birds and suffering caged birds.
Please don’t talk about being humane and compassionate and show me pictures of birds who died in cages implying they should have been running free.
Death is a natural occurrence in battery cages and free range. Birds get sick and die. Birds get old and die. Birds in captivity develop bad habits and turn savage on each other. Life is not perfect, Sorry!
Note: It happens in prisons too so why are we not talking of letting criminals roam free? (Forgive, but that’s the nearest comparison I could come up with).
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a population explosion going on globally with an inverse proportion of land available. Battery cages maximize land space available while ensuring that you have the cheap protein you need.
I love animals; I couldn't have studied Veterinary medicine if I hadnt. But I also respect animals' roles in our Ecology. As food to man. As beasts of burden. As companions.
So dear lady in the lilac cardigan at Tesco, don’t gimme the evil eye cause I picked up the crate of eggs clearly labeled 'battery cage eggs' which I noticed shoppers were avoiding.
A crate of 15 eggs for £1.82 makes great nutritional and economic sense to me than a crate of 6 free range eggs at £1.45!