“Our Ducks Have Untrimmed Bills”

Sometimes you learn of the horrors that go on with the leading food brands by reading the labels of smaller goody-two-shoes brands. “No trans fats” on one package means that everything else in the aisle that doesn’t say so is just lubed to the gills with them. “No hormones” means that if you eat that other guy’s meat, you will most certainly sprout bonus genitalia. And this package of frozen duck breasts? It informs me that Bell & Evans is not party to the heinous practice of trimming ducks’ bills. Thank goodness!

Without knowing the presumably gruesome and needless practice even existed, I was happy to be taking part in the fight against it. Until I Googled it, and learned that the trimming of duck bills, which is indeed controversial, prevents “undesirable and potentially injurious behaviors such as feather pulling and cannibalism.” Yes, I would say cannibalism was an “undesirable outcome” of animal husbandry. (You can read more here, but careful, it’s a PDF.)

I don’t support unnecessary animal cruelty, but let’s be honest, this whole business is cruel. It would suck to be killed and eaten, no matter what people did to you before you died. And if it’s your natural disposition to murder and eat your fellow fowl, well, arguments about your right to humane treatment do tend to fly out the window. I definitely agree with the concern for more natural and sustainable living conditions for our future steaks and sausages, but I can’t help but reason that at least some measures like this one might in fact be a little knee-jerky. And when both sides are kinda right, they’re both kinda wrong, too. Right?


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