by Michael dEstries
Categories: People
Tags: , .

oprah chickens

Taking a page out of Jamie Oliver’s book, Oprah Winfrey will today at 4pm EST go behind the scenes of the poultry industry and contrast the practices there with organic, free-range chicken farming. Her almost 10 million viewers are about to receive one hell of an education!

Oprah’s investigative reporter Lisa Ling will show people how we treat the animals we eat. According to SFoodie, based on the teaser, “farmers (and farming practices, including egg production) will be put on the hot seat.”

Grist also weighs in on the huge response Oprah’s special may create saying, “The talk-show queen’s opinions move mountains; people have been wondering for years when she would train serious attention on the food system. Today’s show reportedly focuses on animal welfare, discussing California’s Prop. 2, which would improve some of the more egregious conditions faced by factory-raised chickens.”

Truly, this is fantastic news — especially since we’ve been so envious of the UK’s work in this area, while frustrated with the little education available to the mainstream public here in the U.S.

But enough babble — go watch! Now!

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Jen Hamilton

    Despite what a lot of people think of Oprah she has the ability to reach millions of people with her message. I think that she is awesome and commend her for shedding light on the suffering and cruelty that goes on in America’s slaughterhouses. People have to wake up about animal agriculture and stop saying “but it tastes good.”

  • Stephanie Williams

    I really hope that it paints the grim picture that it really is…even “free range” and “Happy Meat” cause there is no such thing.

    Kudos to her for at least exposing people to this topic.

  • Key

    I saw the special. Oprah definitely took a look at free range egg production versus your average egg farm. I have serious doubts about this making a substantial difference mostly because of the impact Oprah’s puppy farm episode had.

    It created greater awareness but not enough to shut them all down. Heck they just shut another badly run puppy farm down in my city last week, because the dogs where so badly taken care of they called down the attention of the SPCA not because their was a citizen effort to get them closed.

  • http://HUH? Brad

    You know people really need to get a life. These are animals that are consumed as food. Treating an animaly humanely is crazy!!! It’s dinner. Get a life. Too all the wonderful animals rights activist, I surely hope none of your shoes are leather and all your clothes are cotton. If you don’t like to eat then don’t. But who cares about how dinner lived before it was dinner. It’s an animal…it doesn’t have a soul. I just hope I don’t have to pay out the orifice of my backside for all you good loving animal lovers. Just to let you all know, you know there are people starving around the world and little boys and girls being sold into sexy slavery. Folks really need a new cause.

  • erin

    hopefully her show will at least open some doors. i do not eat chicken. free range organic or otherwise. i *do* feed my cat some free range chicken. she is 16 and not going vegetarian any time soon. i also buy a few local eggs from a farmer who has a few free range chickens in the yard and don’t see a problem with that.

  • michael

    “It’s an animal…it doesn’t have a soul.”

    Please explain. Wait, never mind. People who are not sympathetic to an animal dying and in pain — whether as a victim of terrible farming conditions or just abuse — are not worthy of my time.

    To not give a shit completely negates any justification to claiming you might have a soul over another.

  • Kyle

    To Brad:

    Wow, can you possibly more heartless? I know that animals don’t have souls, but humans don’t either; I don’t believe in souls. But animals, chickens, humans, mice, cows, you name it, all feel pain and are capable of suffering. I wish that all non-vegans were forced into gestation grates for a couple of days to see how they like it. And us vegans aren’t stupid; we don’t eat any animal products, we don’t wear any animal products, and we don’t use any products tested on animals.

  • Jane

    People like Brad are the reason we have so many issues with abuse in the first place. The idea that if a creature does or does not have a soul (who said?) determines whether they should be treated well or abused is an idiotic argument.

    I recently heard someone else say that because the animals don’t have names and aren’t pets that their treatment doesn’t matter. By this logic, as long as someone has a child for the express purpose of selling it into “sexy” slavery (or any of the other horrific things that can happen to children), and that parent then also doesn’t give the child a name, it’s okay?

    Like many unfeeling people, Brad also wants people to choose causes. He thinks that because we care about the lives of animals, we can’t also care about the lives of children. Guess what – We can. Guess what else – my shoes aren’t leather and my clothes are all organic cotton. I guess I can be legitimately concerned now, eh?

  • Stephanie Williams

    I always think it is ironic that people troll blogs telling people to get lives.

    To me, that is the definition of not having a life.

  • The Science Commenter

    To say that animal abuse isn’t important because an animal doesn’t have a soul is a really poor argument anyway. It’s pain receptors, not souls, that are responsible for the discomfort felt by the mistreatment.

    Yes, little boys and girls are being sold into sex slavery and yes there are dozens of causes that need to be addressed, but how a society treats animals is a reflection of how it treats its people.

    Why do you think when so many sociopaths and criminal types are profiled, you find animal cruelty in their backgrounds. And one common trait for those with antisocial personality disorder is abuse of pets or other animals as a child.

    When you start believing you are free to do whatever the hell you want with creatures that are not as dominant as you, the slippery slope of abuse and degradation begins-whether those creatures are animals, those who are less intelligent than you, poorer, different genders, and yes, the helpless and less potent child population.

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  • erin

    I remember recently a fur trapper in the news got caught in one of his own traps (idiot) for like a week.

    I think if that happened to Brad he might have different views on things.

  • fbr

    The Science Commenter, you bring up an interesting point about pain and discomfort in animals. However, it is not at all self-evident that the nature of pain in a self-aware being with a vast mental capacity like a human is similar to pain in a non self-aware animals (or self-aware animals, if such exist). Does a cockroach have the same capacity to feel pain as a dolphin, and should be therefore not hurt cockroaches? How about chickens versus human beings? I’m not saying that no animal has the same capacity to feel pain and discomfort as humans, I’m simply saying that it’s not self-evident that they do.

    Second, another interesting point you raise is the link between animal cruelty and cruelty towards humans. I actually went through the research on this topic a while back and while it’s true that many studies have found correlations, there were no convincing arguments about the causal relationship. So your suggestion that accepting pain and discomfort in animals leads to accepting that in humans simply has no basis in the light of our current knowledge. To me personally, that argument smells a lot like the “marijuana as a gateway drug” argument.

  • RM

    I didn’t see the show but I can imagine how it was presented. As a poultry farmer it chaps my ass to see some overpaid so called celebrity telling me how to make a living. For the most part my chickens are taken better care of than my family. I would love to be able to do some of the things some groups suggest but productivity would go down and people are not willing to pay the extra expense. With a world wide food shortage this seems to me a strange direction to go. Perhaps if Oprah couldn’t get anything to eat she could keep her weight down and have a different point of view. PETA and other animal rights groups would have us turn all animals out and we will all become vegetarians. That sounds great but what do you think the animals will eat? People would be in competition for the same food.

  • adam

    hello. I understand that people don’t want chickens to be abused. Can someone please tell me if there are any fast food chains that don’t abuse chickens or any chickens to eat that are not abused (besides free-range whole foods chickens)

  • The Science Commenter


    Animals would probably have enough food if populations existed they way they should in nature. But natural isn’t how the factory farm industry breeds. They can produce way more animals for food through breeding than if you gave every creature it’s own bottle of Viagra.

    The majority of meat produced today doesn’t “even out the population,” because it’s created from an artifical one.

    With a worldwide shortage of food, veggie life is the best way to go, since producing meat is so frickin’ expensive and consumes so much energy and landspace we could be growing plant crops on to feed people versus growing food for animals to eat, then slicing and dicing them for food. See how there’s an extra step in between there. The shortest route is usually the best.

    If mandatory rules forces animal farmers to raise prices and the demand shrinks, good. If they don’t want it, then you’ll have to think of something else (plant based) to produce.

    Oh, and Oprah would keep weight down better if she stayed vegan for life.

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  • Denise

    I could not believe a human would treat any living thing as it was worse than dirt. Yes people eat meat, protein diets actually keeps your weight down. It is the added carbs that put on pounds. But after viewing how we slaughter our food, I will never.. eat another animal. We are worse than the dinosaurs, at least they hunted and killed swiftly. Perhaps God will send another asteroid, we sure deserve it. Why do humans always find something to abuse. Animals, children, their partners,slavery. These animals are raised for our survival, it is so hard to find a human way to put them to death… Maybe the next time around we will be on the lower food chain. I hope we are not hung by our feet, heads ripped off, babies ripped out of our bodies, faces burned, put in little boxes so we can not move,beaten, kicked, thrown against walls, just to be abused before being put to death. WHO ARE THE ANIMALS.. Oh God Help Us.. and Go Oprah…

  • Denise

    ps, animals don’t feel pain.. are you out of your mind. Why do you think they are screaming. I have a dog and if she gets hurt she runs to me and jumps in my lap NEEDing comfort. You need a reality check if you think an animal does not have feelings, why do they have sex, why do they care for their young (If Allowed). I have never been so embarrassed or ashamed to be human. We trust these farmers to do the right thing. I guess the saying, “We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors”. Shame on you….what kind of evil are we allowing, and this is evil behavior.

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  • fred

    wow. This is about the funniest post I have ever read. If it were not for animals we would not be here. Our stoneage fathers slaughtered animals and grilled them on an open fire! If you look today we see all kinds of animals being eaten alive. Should we tell all the preditors of the world to stop? That is life and I dont see a single thing wrong with ringing a chickens neck or sticking a pig or taking a club to the back of a rabbits head. We all have to eat. I am a farmer and growing grain and veggies is doing far more damage to our envirenment than haveing to worry about the pain an animal feels when it is raised and slaughtered.

  • Tara

    my goodness……..are we all telling eachother what to eat? If you wanna eat meat than do it if not then don’t worry, no one is gonna push a fork full of meat in your mouth! It’s not right to abuse chickens……yes indeed they can feel pain. It’s not cruel however to slaughter a chicken though……would you call a tiger cruel, a lion, a wolf, fox???????? anything else that hunts down their food? It’s nature…..but it’s not natural how a lot of chicken farms run these days. People just eat too much of it. No I’m not vegan but a lot of Americans have gotten out of control over the meat eating……..come on now…..why in the hell they got 18 oz steaks now? We Americans need to learn to BALANCE your meals. Since we over eat meat, it’s in high demand and in such high demand that we now pump our animals with hormones and such to fatten them quicker…that’s crazy and unhealthy. We need a good lesson on how to balance our meals and then our chicken farms would not be so overpopulated and the chickens won’t face so much pain and abuse before they turn into dinner.