In the first part of this blog post, I ended by mentioning that my co-volunteer, Joanne, had asked one of the attendants about the mother of the hundreds of baby chicks. Well, what answer did she receive? Not the truth, certainly: the attendant informed her that the mother chicken was “at the farm”.
This isn’t true, of course; the attendant forgot one crucial word–”factory”. That’s right, she was from a factory farm. Unlike most of the vendors at the fair, who dropped their names at every opportunity, the chicks had no source whatsoever. This leads me to believe that the chicks are likely from a generic, local factory farm, and will probably end up at the slaughterhouse/processing plant at Hastings and Commercial Drive.
The attendant also forgot to mention that there isn’t one mother chicken, but many, and none of them will ever see their babies born. Here is more info on the spectacularly horrifying life of the broiler breeder chicken, who will live her life intentionally starved and in the dark, crowded in with thousands and thousands of other birds.
Oh, and they had a sign at each of the crates of chicks. It stated that the chicks…
…belong to a commercial breed of chicken…bred mainly for meat. …This breed grows very fast and by the time they are 40 days old they weigh 40 lbs.
Admittedly, these aren’t outright lies, but they’ve left a few things out. Let me help:
…[these chicks] belong to a commercial breed of chicken…bred mainly for meat. …This breed grows very fast as a result of genetic manipulation and by the time they are 40 days old they weigh 40 lbs. That’s right–these chicks, which you are all gushing about and petting, will be they slaughtered in just over a month. Many of them will not make it that long. Due to their unnnaturally fast growth, some of them will die when their hearts or lungs fail or their bones break under their immense weight.
Gee, I can’t see why they left that part out. Learn more here. And here’s a relevant video from Compassion Over Killing:
There was also a section of the fair called the Kidz Discovery Farm, and it was perhaps the worst part of the entire fair. There, children could wander through a fake farm, helpfully provided by the BC Egg Marketers Board and the BC Milk Producers Association. First up was the Egg Barn. Here’s what it looked like on the inside:
Wait a second…that doesn’t look anything like any battery cage I’ve ever seen. There are one or two birds in every cage…and some of them are just hanging out on top! They’ve even got nice, straw bedding! I guess battery cages are pretty okay! Oh, wait.
One more time. A PNE battery cage farm:
Well, that looks pretty good! Oh wait, what’s this?
The next exhibit was the Dairy Barn. Here’s what it looked like:
Admittedly, this is a lousy shot. But you can see in the forefront the wooden cow, which children could “milk”. In the back is a view of an industrial dairy farm. Even while in the barn, you could barely make out the cows in the picture. There was also a bucket with free pints of milk for the 60% of the population who don’t get sick (well, not as a result of lactose intolerance) from consuming dairy products–which I forgot to get a shot of.
Barn 3 was the “Beef Barn”, which for whatever reason was strangely empty during the period that I was there. I don’t know if it was the location or if most parents were less-than-eager for their children to make the connection between the cuddly baby cows at the fair and the rubber hamburgers you could pick up in the barn.
There was also a section were you could pick up plastic vegetables, but there wasn’t much to it–probably because the fruit and vegetable council wasn’t a major sponsor of the event.
So there you have it: my trip to the PNE. Sigh.