Poultry products come with so many specialty labels today, and some are baffling because even though they lead one subset of consumers to believe the product is superior, people with a greater understanding of animal science and agrifood production don’t necessarily see it that way.
One such label is vegetarian-fed poultry.
That was always one that made me scratch my head. I mean, chickens, turkey and other birds are not naturally vegetarians. And if the consumer is concerned about the consumption of animals, they aren’t going to be buying poultry anyway.
But nonetheless, vegetarian-feed poultry is a thing. And, it makes a little more sense to me now.
There’s a park where my family and many of our friends have spent a lot of time. One thing that park is known for is how it attracts many ducks and geese, and numerous people who visit the park like to feed their old bread to those birds.
A couple of days ago, my buddy Roger went to Facebook to write about a recent experience he had at the park.
While Roger was driving through the park, some people stepped in front of his vehicle and stopped him. He was told he couldn’t drive through because they were feeding the ducks and the geese on the paved road in the park designed for vehicles. He asked them why they were feeding them on the road and not off to the side in the grass.
“We can’t do that. They might eat a bug or an insect. That wouldn’t be good for them,” one person told him.
“I ended the conversation right there,” Roger wrote.
Now in all the years I’ve known Roger, I’ve never known him to be someone to keep his opinions to himself. But I do think he is someone who knows there are people who cannot have their misinformed opinions changed with facts.
In fact, Roger wrote: “I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought ducks and geese eat when there isn’t anyone around to feed them bread.”
And numerous science-based sources have actually advised against feeding bread to ducks and geese because of a lack of nutritional value, and it could even hinder the growth of young birds. I won’t even get into the topic of feeding these birds in the vehicle traffic areas and those potential hazards.
This exchange took place in a mostly rural and agricultural county, and yet parkgoers there thought birds shouldn’t eat bugs.
That is just another example of how people’s perceptions about poultry are contrary to reality, so it now makes perfect sense why some companies have found a niche for consumers who want vegetarian-fed poultry, as unnecessary as it seems.