Thursday, April 24, 2008

I had a conversation with someone the other day about chickens. Now I'm sure you're probably thinking, oh what a wonderful conversation I DON'T really care to be informed about. But hear me out on this one.

America seems to be having a huge organic craze lately. Every which way we turn there is something new being organically, chemical-free grown. It started mostly in vegetables and other things that are grown in or from the earth. Now people are getting highly interested in organic animals.

How do we deem animals organic? It's all in the feed. Their rations must be natural with little supplements. Meaning we don't feed them chemically treated food to get them bigger than they should be.

I found the biggest desire for organic animals in New York. Every restaurant was advertising their free-range chicken, and so many people were drooling over them. Of course this was nothing new for me being from Iowa. I sometimes have to swerve a little bit while driving out in the country to avoid free-range chicken. I just never thought of them differently before.

Now while I do not have a huge desire to make sure everything going into my body is completely organic and natural, I can understand the desire for the product. America is trying to get healthier and cut down the obesity statistics, so why not eat healthier things? I do have an issue though, and it deals with these so called natural animals.

There are plenty of "fresh" animals around to partake in eating. I grew up on fresh fish caught from a multitude of lakes as well as deer my father hunted each year. I ate organic growing up, right?

How about the chemical run-off that causes huge spikes of algae in our lake each year? Does that affect the fish? Or the chemically treated fields that farmers spray with pesticides and herbicides that deer tend to feed on. Does that affect them? It seems it may be harder than people thought to find truly organic animals.

Of all the places I thought we would find truly "organic" animals, it is becoming the least likely place. It's a trickle-down effect; what we do to our environment affects the food we desire from it.

We already have loads of messages being shoved down our throats about global warming and how the environment will change. It seems the message being left out is the ecosystem resting within the environment. How much will it really affect our food in the future? I guess we can add another thing to the ever-building list of worries, from melting ice caps to greenhouse gases.

* Tyler Kirkholm is a BVU senior from Storm Lake, interning with the Pilot-Tribune.