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As a vegan, I have no trouble declaring my feelings about the concept of chickens as food. For me, it's a case of the charred flesh of tortured and cancerous birds pumped full of hormones and antibiotics being mass-marketed to a nation of pawns with lawns. Usually, this is when the free range myth rears its ugly head. Isn't it better, they say, to eat chickens that were raised 'free range'?

The gang at PeacefulPrairie.org have a simple reply: 'It is like asking if I think strangulation is better than suffocation. My answer is: Neither is an acceptable option.' As they say in South Florida: Bingo.

For a more detail oriented response, let?s start with Compassionate Over Killing: ?The popular myth that 'free-range' egg-laying hens enjoy fresh grass, bask in the sunlight, scratch the earth, sit on their nests, and engage in other natural habits is often just that: a myth. In many commercial 'free-range egg farms, hens are crowded inside windowless sheds with little more than a single, narrow exit leading to an enclosure, too small to accommodate all of the birds at once. Both battery cage and 'free-range' egg hatcheries kill all male chicks shortly after birth. Since male chicks cannot lay eggs and are different breeds than those chickens raised for meat, they are of no use to the egg industry. Standard killing methods, even among 'free-range' producers, include grinding male chicks alive or throwing them into trash bags and leaving them to suffocate."

TryVeg.com adds: ?There are few government regulations or industry standards to monitor the use of the term 'free range,' so inhumane conditions and mistreatment of the animals are common. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines 'free-range' and 'free-roaming' only for labeling purposes and has no inspection system in place to verify that those farms claiming to be 'free-range' actually are. As with factory-farmed animals, 'free-range' animals can be subjected to the same physical mutilations without painkillers and are still sent to the same slaughterhouses as their factory-farmed relatives at a young age when their 'productivity' wanes."

Wanna understand more about the much-maligned chicken? Try meeting a few here.