On the Farm

I was talking to a animal waste engineer (it’s a long story) about getting energy from manure. He mentioned gasification–not the most pleasant topic–as a means to convert dead animals to energy.

broilersWhen I asked him about what percentage of a flock or herd dies on the farm, the researcher gave me ballpark figures. Chicken raised for consumption, “broilers” in ag talk, have about a 5-10 percent mortality rate. With hogs, it’s more like 2-4 percent.

I didn’t find these numbers astounding and there’s always going to be death in a population, captive or wild. While the drawbacks of factory farms are well-covered, I wonder how much these CAFOs exacerbate animal deaths (before the ultimate slaughter).

Anyway, I do think animal mortality is a seldom considered part of the reason more than 40 percent of the food created in the US is wasted. So be sure to eat all of that chicken sandwich with bacon! (or at least save the leftovers)

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