Modern chicken farming techniques are becoming increasingly criticized by a variety of groups. Some of the most common criticisms include the tight quarters chickens are required to live in, especially egg producing chickens, which are able to be placed in closer proximity to each other than chickens reared for meat.
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One common misconception of these groups is that
growth hormones are being used in chicken production in the United
States. The last widely used hormone was banned in the late 1950s
and today the use of hormones in chickens and eggs is illegal.
However, antibiotics and antimicrobials are routinely used in large
scale modern chicken farming operations and there is ongoing
research into the long term effects of antibiotics in poultry
farming. Critics of antibiotic use worry about the development of
'super-strains' that are resistant to antibiotics and pose a threat
to humans. Despite this concern, antibiotics have been used in large
scale farming operations including poultry for many years and there
are no major instances of antibiotic resistant strains that affect
humans originating on farms. One other point of contention is the
point at which antibiotics ought to be allowed in the life cycle of
the chicken. Currently, poultry farmers are allowed to use
antibiotics preventively, before chickens have shown any sign of
sickness, but some have lobbied that they ought not be allowed to
use antibiotics at all except in the case of actual sickness. It is
worth mentioning that antibiotics may have other attributes that are
attractive to producers, as a correlation has been found between the
use of certain antibiotics and accelerated rates of growth.
Copyright Peter Garrey