If you’ve ever watched a documentary on food, you’ve probably seen the terrible ways in which chickens are raised and farmed. If you have the means, free-range and organic is the way to go. But I appreciate that some – most according to this Economist article – must opt for whatever is cheaper.
The Economist deals with the unfortunate side of the chicken industry, but it also talks about how chicken became the rich world’s most popular and widely traded meat. Since 1990, beef and pork consumption has remained roughly the same in OECD countries; whereas chicken consumption has increased by some 70%.
Also interesting are the regional preferences when it comes to the parts of the chicken. Here is an excerpt from the article (and yes, I prefer white meat):
Though Westerners prefer lean, white meat; many in Asia and Africa prefer dark meat, which includes legs and thighs. These preferences are reflected in local prices: in America breasts are 88% more expensive than legs; in Indonesia they are 12% cheaper. Differences in the price of chicken feet are even starker. The thought of eating talons is abhorrent to many Westerners, but they often feature in Cantonese recipes. China now imports 300,000 tonnes of “phoenix claws” every year.
I reckon that a lot of this popularity has to do with chicken’s reputation as a healthy meat. That is certainly the primary motivation for me. Though I do get thrown off when I see the size of chickens on antibiotics. The Dutch have a word for this: plofkip. It translates to “exploded chicken.”
I realize that this post has little to do with cities, other than the inference that Hong Kong is likely a major buyer of feet. But if you’re at all curious about the stuff you put inside your body – I clearly am – here’s the full article.