Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Chicken Mobile (Das Hühnermobil)

It may not be the most practical or even the best alternative to industrial farming, but it's certainly innovative, energy efficient, humane, and environmentally friendly. It's the Chicken Mobile: a specially designed van that transports hundreds of chickens from meadow to meadow each day. And unlike the so called free-range or cage-free chickens (terms without government regulation or legal definition), these chickens really range free and are subject to no painful mutilations like debeaking.

Even when chickens are allowed to "free range," their range is usually contaminated with the germs of thousands of other chickens occupying the same space. Transporting chickens to different meadows reduces disease transmission and the need for antibiotics used in most farming operations.

The Chicken Mobile includes a scratching area in the lower level as well as a spacious lay area above. (See video.) It provides protection from the weather and predators while affording easy access to the outside. The van's solar system also provides electricity and heat. Most importantly, the Chicken Mobile allows young people to see where our packaged food comes from while giving our feathered friends some semblance of a real life.

Of course, the best way to end chicken cruelty is to eliminate eggs from your diet. Even the Chicken Mobile folks are cagey when it comes to the issue of male chicks or mature hens once their egg laying days are over.

No comments: