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Dear MOTHER: August/September 2009

Readers’ letters about raising meat chickens, a Swiss chard offer, overpopulation, corn ethanol and water, and much more.

| August/September 2009

  • chickens for meat lead
    From breed choice to processing laws, readers responded to Gwen Roland’s article, “Raising Chickens for Meat.”
  • chard2
    Reader Jeffrey Dickemann has offered to send chard seeds to interested gardeners.
  • ethanol
    The increasing demand for corn to make ethanol exacts a heavy price in water usage.
  • Mountain range
    Readers continue to send in letters regarding the population discussion, covered in MOTHER EARTH NEWS in December 2008/January 2009 and April/May 2009.
  • Garden work station
    Chris Clampett’s husband converted a homemade table into this garden work station after reading “Keeping Up with Your Garden” by Barbara Pleasant.
  • Power plant steam stacks
    Reader letters illustrate that some still believe global climate change is a hoax.

  • chickens for meat lead
  • chard2
  • ethanol
  • Mountain range
  • Garden work station
  • Power plant steam stacks

We received a flock of responses to last issue’s Raising Chickens for Meat article. Pat Bokma in New Jersey reports that some local laws prohibit home slaughter of chickens — apparently slaughterhouses are considered more humane than home butchering in the Garden State. From Oregon, Jessica Murphy suggests reducing processing time by skinning chickens, rather than plucking them. And Elizabeth Stevens in Kansas reminds us that industrial chicken breeds are abused no matter how kind their keepers may be, thanks to breeding that makes them grow so fast their legs often break under their own weight. (If we all toured factory poultry farms, sales of chicken meat and eggs would plummet overnight; the conditions are truly inhumane by almost anyone’s definition.)

We continue to receive tons of letters about the population issue; you can read a few more here. Plus, we continue to hear from some readers who are adamant that the “global warming crisis” is a hoax. 


Local is Illegal?!

I enjoyed reading your June/July 2009 issue, but was surprised by your article Raising Chickens for Meat. Not surprised by the excellent article, but by the fact that you didn’t mention caution when slaughtering your own food. Doing so in my area would have the long arm of the law and the local chapter of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on my doorstep.

I live in a rural area of southern New Jersey on approximately four acres. We used to eat our rabbits. I will not say how they got from hutch to oven, but if we were to do as your chicken article instructed, I would have to pay a fine and go to court. I can raise any type of animal for food, but the law requires me to transport them to a slaughterhouse for processing. I wonder if I would get back my meat or someone else’s? And what would this cost?

Tammy Dolese
7/25/2009 10:24:48 PM

Re: population control I think one perspective has been missing from this very animated discussion. My husband and I do not intend to have children and we have dealt with a great deal of questioning, misunderstanding, and often outright rudeness regarding our personal decisions. A great first step in this battle of overpopulation is to make this sect feel less of an oddity and more welcome in modern culture. Start by saying to young adults that it really IS OKAY to not have/want kids. And make that option more feasible for all - by acceptance, education, and most of all resources in birth control. Once wide acceptance is obtained, this discussion can really be more productive in the future.

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