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Should I be disturbed about broken chicken legs?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM

My (cooked) chicken leg the other night... when I bit into it, I realized that my chicken's leg was already broken. It was a clean break through the bone at a diagonal. I was so disturbed, and this has been stuck on my mind for a week now. This easily could have happened during breakdown of the chicken parts or something, so I'm just questioning my irrationality.

I'm also disturbed because a whole fryer chicken I bought the other day was severely mutated. The entire left side was enlarged compared to the right side, and the legs/wings were not in symmetrical places across the body.

For the record, I buy all of my meats from Sprouts because they're gorgeous (in color and size) compared to any run of the mill grocery store.

Would you still eat mutated/broken chicken? Should I expect these things from even higher end chains like Whole Foods because that's just how nature and processing occurs?

F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

(1884)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:53 PM

This is a great idea... I most definitely will. Thank you :)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 22, 2012
at 06:26 PM

I cannot imagine using so much force that their bones break cleanly as the OP describes.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:28 PM

I once had a pastured chicken from a small local farm that had a broken back. I suppose it's most likely that this happened after they dispatched it. It is pretty sad to see broken animals though.

F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

(1884)

on August 22, 2012
at 03:44 PM

The disturbing part in particular is consuming chicken that has been inhumanely treated. I used to watch PETA videos as a kid and refuse to even go there now, but seeing broken bones in my dinner brings those images back to mind. I don't particularly wish to eat meat that has been mishandled prior to death. You could say that's just how the meat industry works; all animals are mishandled in that environment, but physical evidence is more disturbing (to me) than say... not being fed a grain free diet.

Medium avatar

(3213)

on August 22, 2012
at 03:29 PM

What is so disturbing about this? The fact that the chicken may have had an inhumane treatment or the broken leg grossed you out?

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9 Answers

best answer

6
E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on August 22, 2012
at 03:22 PM

If you are buying chicken that came from a large chicken house type operation rather than a free range smaller one it is quite possible the chicken's leg was broken before processing. The people who collect them and shove them into crates for transport to the processing plant break legs all the time. I would find another source to be honest between the broken leg and the misshapen bird. The swelling in the breast was pre-butchering most definitely. That spells serious mishandling to me.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 22, 2012
at 06:26 PM

I cannot imagine using so much force that their bones break cleanly as the OP describes.

3
20bff9cbbddf521bac87b434981502c3

on August 22, 2012
at 10:35 PM

Why don't you discuss the issue directly with the butcher? And find out where they source their chickens and contact the farm directly.

I would be disturbed by both of those situations, and would at the very minimum want my voice to be heard by both the chicken source (farm) as well as the people who do business with them (Sprouts). I bet other Sprouts customers would want to know, too.

F5be4be097edc85690c12d67ee1a27c0

(1884)

on August 23, 2012
at 12:53 PM

This is a great idea... I most definitely will. Thank you :)

3
C4a0c9f9a748f1d3354055bc6d020c7e

(298)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:43 PM

While Sprouts bills itself as a "Healthy, Natural & Organic Grocery Store", I am not sure that is quite the case. I think they try harder than the bigger chains but I think they sell a lot of food that is not organic, not pastured and contains a lot of crap.
I do shop there for some stuff but I don't think it is anywhere near as good as buying from a small local producer or even Whole Foods (I don't know exactly what the truth is when it comes to Whole Foods but I do know they have a rating system for how their animals are treated).

3
7cf9f5b08a41ecf2a2d2bc0b31ea6fa0

on August 22, 2012
at 03:35 PM

America: land of the mechanical farms

2
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on August 22, 2012
at 06:51 PM

Also, the cornish crosses used for meat are bred to grow incredibly fast, so they reach slaughter age by 12 weeks max--and their skeletons can't keep up with their body mass.

2
E45c5a1c8df73da5e03bb6e7e90f8420

(644)

on August 22, 2012
at 04:45 PM

SO disturbing. In fact, I can only eat very specific cuts of meat because I just am too disturbed when I have the entire body or leg or wing etc in front of me. I personally wish I could go back to being vegetarian, but health wise it isn't an option. What I do is I go to a local farmer's market and purchase my meat directly from the farmer. They have photos of the animals and will answer any questions you ask- that makes it a little less disturbing for me though I personally believe there is no such thing as 'humane' meat.

I would think that the reason the chicken looked so odd is because it has been genetically bred to have larger breasts, thighs, etc. Most chickens cannot walk or stand when the time for slaughter comes. Most have numerous broken bones as well. It is really disgusting and terribly sad.

I would say, if you can afford it, to shop elsewhere, somewhere where you at least have an idea of where the meat came from and an idea of how it was treated. I think it is an ethical obligation as a consumer to do this with all food.

2
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on August 22, 2012
at 03:10 PM

I would expect that smaller stores will have a higher rate of product damage during production. They are smaller, so they pay less (less skilled workers), and cannot afford to discard visually damaged products. That said, as long as they are sourced from good farms, the meat should be fine for consumption. Sort of like chard leaves that have been nibbled on by a beetle. It has a hole in the leaf, but it's totally fine to eat.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 22, 2012
at 05:30 PM

Broken legs are apparently pretty common when collecting the birds to cull them from any medium to large scale production. There was even a piece on This American Life the other day about a boy who spent a summer on a Kibbutz, and one of the chores for the guys was to gather up the birds and crate them. They were instructed to pick up 4 birds with each hand, "if the leg breaks, it doesn't matter, keep going" were the instructions. I'm guessing the best way around this dilemma is buy your chickens from someone just slaughters a few at a time.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 22, 2012
at 03:09 PM

I wouldn't be too concerned. Most likely happens in processing rather than nature, doesn't effect the meat in any way.

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