I was encouraged to read that the Pittsboro General Store Cafe is interested in specializing in free-range chicken ("Burrito supreme," June 7). Demand for free-range chicken is growing in restaurants across the country as consumers become increasingly aware of the animal cruelty associated with factory farming.
Most chicken in the United States comes from factory farms where the birds are confined by the tens of thousands in sunless, ammonia-filled sheds resembling warehouses more than traditional farms. The birds are selectively bred to grow as quickly as possible--so fast that many suffer from painful leg problems as they struggle to support the weight of their ballooning bodies. The University of Arkansas reports that if humans were to grow as quickly as today's broiler chicken, we'd reach a weight of 349 pounds by the age of 2.
Free-range products are a good step in the right direction, and more restaurants should follow the lead of the General Store Cafe.
Factory Farming Campaign,
The Humane Society of the United States