chicken is a type of domesticated bird which is usually raised as a
type of poultry. It is believed to be
descended from the wild Asian Red Junglefowl, Gallus
can be prepared as food in a large number of ways. Common
traditional Western methods include roasting, baking, and frying, or more recently as a form
of fast food
(chicken nuggets). Their
eggs are also eaten.
raised specifically for meat are called broilers.
ancient Greece, where chickens were still rare, they were a rather prestigious
food for symposia, like hare or wildfowl. Castrated cocks (capons), which produce
more and fattier meat than normal roosters, were already known. Delos seems to have been a centre
of chicken breeding.
161 BC a law
was passed in Rome that forbade the consumption of fattened chickens. It was renewed
a number of times, but does not seem to have been successful. Fattening chickens
with bread soaked in milk was thought to give especially delicious results. The
Roman gourmet Apicius offers 17 recipes for
chicken, mainly boiled chicken with a sauce. All parts of the animal are used:
the recipes include
the stomach, liver, testicles and even the pygostyle
(the fatty "tail" of the chicken where the tail feathers attach).
are considered a delicacy. They were especially popular in the Middle Ages.
animal advocates object to killing chickens for food or object to the conditions
under which they are raised. In many countries, such as the United States, the
vast majority of chickens are raised in large crowded warehouses that prevent
the chickens from engaging in many of their natural behaviours. Another welfare
issue is the use of genetic selection to create heavy large-breasted birds, which
can lead to crippling leg disorders and heart failure for some of the birds. Slaughter
is another important welfare issue. Based on USDA figures, it is estimated that
millions of chickens are burned alive in scalding tanks every year. Many chickens
also suffer broken bones caused by rough handling before and during slaughter.
In the United States, chickens are exempt from the Humane
Links concerning the treatment of chickens raised for food: