The Poultry Farmer Liberation Front


Today's dose of regulatory nonsense:

all-purpose Hit & Run illustration

Josh is a Mennonite friend who happens, by the grace of native talent and a powerful work ethic, to produce magnificent chickens. Raised on green growing pasture, they are never medicated, never fed artificial supplements or genetically selected to grow abnormally fast. They develop rich golden fat and a deep flavor, characteristics that have been more or less lost in modern, streamlined, highly efficient poultry production. Not surprisingly, Josh's chickens are in high demand among food cognoscenti and fine restaurants. A couple of years ago I began bringing Josh's chickens to my farmers' market stand to sell alongside our equally popular grassfed beef. Josh and I, in a classic entrepreneurial endeavor, have made these wholesome chickens available to happy, discerning customers who would otherwise be unable to justify a three-hour commute to buy a bird for dinner.

Josh processes his chickens on his farm under a legal exemption allowing him to avoid industrial (and expensive) processing plants. Each chicken he produces is clearly labeled as to origin, method of production, added ingredients (none); the label also cites the statute that allows him operate unmolested.

Recently he was informed by the Food Safety Inspection Service, the regulatory arm of the USDA, that he faced a "situation." They had discovered a chink in the otherwise protective "non-molestation" statute. Because he is marketing chickens to an intermediary (me), his product is therefore rendered illegal and he must desist. In a disturbing addendum the inspector also let slip that the USDA would be "willing and free of charge" to take over inspection of his facilities and that they would be "more than happy to help him get going," presumably in the chicken business.

Elsewhere in Reason: Joel Salatin, author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal, describes yet more dumb regulations that hamper small farms.

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  1. Chickens are the “single issue”!

  2. Say, nice chickens you have there. Sure would be a shame if something were to happen to them…

    1. Pretty much this, verbatim.

  3. I always misread “grassfed beef” as “greased beef.” And then the world gets darker again.

    B) The “discerning” “food cognoscenti” are the regulatory-Puritan class, so if you feed them, you feed it. Reap/sow/eat a bag of unmedicated dicks, dick.

    1. Doubtful. Good food is enjoyable, and puritans hate anything enjoyable. Given their willingness to dick over the poor’s preferred foods, often based on accessibility and time/money cost, while giving a pass to their own unhealthy choices, it sounds a little bit more like “let them eat free range organic chickens”, ie aristocratic.

    2. Bullshit. Utter bullshit. People who love food have seen the government hassling them for years over salt, fat, animal cruelty, animal rarity, local production, raw foods, and more. That’s not to say there won’t be some hypocrites. But your KULTURE WAR reaction to this is stupid.

      Also, what cynical said.

    3. I think there’s something to that.

      It’s like the leftists out there, who both hate on the extreme right for immigrant bashing–and also cheer on Obama for deporting 400,000 illegals a year as a threat to their social programs.

      The people who shop at places like Whole Foods and pay extra for beef that’s grass-fed, are often the same people who are complaining about other people not shopping paying through the nose with the environment in mind.

      You try to say to these people that Whole Foods (and stores like it) have done more for food causes–than any government regulation ever could? And they get all bent out of shape. It’s the same people whining about how the government’s gone too far if they can’t get foie gras anymore.

      Food snobs aren’t consistent, but who said they need to be? They’re not libertarians; they’re just food snobs.

    4. Trouble is, as soon as the “food cognoscenti” find out that it’s the USDA and not the local WalMart strongarming their favorite chicken farmer, they’ll instantly find reasons to think it’s a good idea. And if the farmer protests … well now he’s a greedy selfish capitalist who should be boycotted by the “good guys”. Like that guy who runs Whole Foods.

      1. Exactly.

        If it were a major corporation givin’ this guy a hard time, they’d get upset about it.

        …and by “upset” I mean they’d mumble about it between bites.

      2. Eh, I’m a foodie who LOVES to cook, although I lack the money for the grass fed type shit, and I MOTHERFUCKING HATE the government telling me what I can put in my body.

        Although, I am against organic shit as its retarded, doesn’t taste better (Okay, it does taste better, but that’s because lack of all the chemicals means that it has to be fresher, or else it will spoil) and is hella expensive. Although, sadly, the only way to get flat leaf parsley (aka the good kind) at my local supermarket is to buy organic. Goddamn my love of Italian Salsa Verde.

  4. Simple solution: Lease him the space and contract with him for your services in stocking and sales.

    Remember Gunsite Alumni Shoot Rule 1: “Yes, you can sandbag. We can sandbag BACK.”

  5. Those chickens sound deeelish. Fuck the USDA.

  6. In my fundie upbringing, they used to tell us that in the end times, people won’t be allowed to buy or sell anything unless they have the “mark of the beast”.

    “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

    —-Revelation 13:17

    This was all supposed to be tied up into an all powerful government somehow…

    I don’t know about the rest of those prophecies, but it definitely seems to be getting to the point where we’re only really free from the government if we grow and consume our own food.

    How long that’ll last, I don’t know.

    1. Commerce clause, bitch.

      1. Although the Beast apparently didn’t force people to engage in commerce, it just regulated activity. So, life under the antichrist would not be quite as bad as under Obama.

        1. But you gotta wonder what’s goin’ through a Mennonite’s head when he sees this happening…

          If I’m the minister in that church? I know exactly what the sermon’s gonna be on next week!

    2. I will dine on Roast Number of the Beast in the next world.

      Hey, look, a chicken…..!!!


  7. God forbid someone gives people what they want.

    1. USDA God forbid someone gives people what they want.


  8. God wasn’t fond of Ayn Rand either. He gave her lung cancer and then outed her as a welfare queen.

    1. Arf! Yip! Snap! Nip!

  9. Oops, sorry, wrong post.

    1. ARF ARF ARF!

    2. Baaaa GOCKKKKKKKK

  10. Grass-fed chickens? Really?

    1. Yeah, chickens love grass. Our chickens eat grass all the time.

    2. More importantly, truly pastured chickens are allowed to eat insects and whatever else come their way. Chickens are omnivores, but most sellers are obsessed with “all vegetarian diet” chickens. So a chicken allowed to eat what it naturally would produces more nutritious and delicious meat.

    3. “Raised on green growing pasture” is what is says, bug-fed would be a good term, and yes there is a huge difference.

      1. An occasional frog gets lost in our chicken yard. The chickens cluck what sounds like “Yummm!” and that’s the end of the frog.

  11. I’ll take two of them Rhode Island Red chickens.

  12. Well hello Food Inc.

  13. Also:

    They had discovered a chink


    1. Fuck. How did I miss this?

  14. I was right.

    1. L’etat, c’est moi.

  15. ….time to break some fucking doors down and kill a few chickens!

  16. Steven Segal could fix this with a police tank right quick.

  17. I like to fantasize about the USDA showing up at a ranch in the old west to confiscate grass-fed cattle. Maybe they would just get beat-up. Shot or hanged is more likely.

    We were a more sensible people back then.

  18. I tried starting a vertical farm in my home. I manage to grow 4 hydroponic peppers. Technically, it is possible to scale that up to a working vertical farm, but growing peppers with the intent to sell is illegal in my town.

    1. *Technologically

  19. poultry farmer in the twelve century 😀

  20. Nice farmer
    twelve century

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