Some chickens are raised to grow so quickly they can be in pain as early as two-weeks-old. Chickens forced to grow that fast develop muscle disorders (fast growth genetics) and the meat has less protein and more fat.
The industry is clearly facing a problem. Here are the facts about this issue:
- Spaghetti meat and the related problem of white striping are muscle disorders associated with breeding chickens to grow very big, very fast.
- These degenerative muscle disorders cause pain and suffering in chickens.
- It's been hidden from consumers behind factory farm doors for years, but the problem has gotten so bad that you can actually see it on supermarket shelves
The Wall Street Journal tells us,
"Chicken companies spent decades breeding birds to grow rapidly and develop large breast muscles. Now the industry is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to deal with the consequences ranging from squishy fillets known as "spaghetti meat," because they pull apart easily, to leathery ones known as "woody breast."
The interview does confirm that these abnormalities pose no food safety risk but it's gross! Not to mention, it's causing these animals a significant amount of pain.
If you haven't already, watch this video!
If you needed another photo, here you go.
I don't have broilers, they are birds raised for meat-only layers. With that in mind, I cannot imagine raising birds knowing they're in pain based on my feeding methods and overall chicken-keeping practices.
The Wall Street Journal also reports in their interview,
"Meat scientists said they suspect the rapid growth rate of commercially raised chickens may lead breast muscle tissue to outgrow the oxygen supply provided by chickens' developing circulatory systems, at which point muscle fibers can degrade. That can alter the density and texture of the meat, they said."
Who wants to eat leather tasing chicken anyway?
If you read up to here, you now realize this post isn't about an Italian meat sauce you can consider for dinner or the latest tomato paste you've been looking for to complete your chicken spaghetti masterpiece. It's about the fate of our broiler chickens and the impact it's having on chicken breast meat. If you cook a lot with chicken you've likely noticed the meat you purchase for your chicken recipes isn't what you were expecting and that spaghetti "pull apart" texture is enough to walk away from chicken altogether.
Chickens and all livestock should be stress-free. If breeders can't work with chickens that don't grow at lightning speeds then I supposed we can all switch to another protein!
Shameless plug: If you are looking for spaghetti recipes, head over to Wide Open Eats!
Have you seen Spaghetti Meat after opening up a pack of chicken breasts from the market? Please leave a comment below!