Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2377 Fowl Discharge

It's usually around Thanksgiving that most Americans encounter a relatively whole bird creature that they're about to devour. Gone are the days when little Billy was sent into the backyard to behead one of the farm chickens and hand it over to Ma to pluck and fry for dinner.

Turkey looks kind of whole and its body cavity often contains mysterious bits identifiable as having once come for the turkey body. Necks and organs, like liver and kidneys, affectionately known as giblets. As for chicken, these days most folks buy that in a bucket. 

So where do the other chicken parts go? In a recent issue National Geographic had a graphic on it. 90% of US chickens are cut into pieces before they hit the market. But American chicken tastes are kind of bland. In order to utilize the whole chicken and get complete chicken sell-through profits a lot of stuff is exported.

Not to mention the political benefits of a little chicken diplomacy.

China, for example, imports 118,980 tons of chicken wings, although the buffalo wing craze domestically has clipped some of those overseas revenues. 

Indonesia imports some 210,000 tons of feathers to use, which they grind up for animal feed and use as plastic fortifiers. I love feather-fortified plastic. Great for toy airplanes.

South Africa is a big importer of chicken viscera. Again, ground up and used for fertilizer. Also for pet food. "Fifi? Would you like some chicken viscera?"

Russia gobbles up over 2 million tons of leg quarters. Apparently, they got a taste for them during the food shortages of the USSR breakup. The first President Bush donated chicken legs to help. Russians now call them Nozhki Busha. Or Bush's Legs.

Talk about an historical accomplishment. Or is that legacy...

America, ya gotta love it. 

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