Lettuce Lady and friends were showing their tushies off in Manila last week.

If you don’t know about Lettuce Lady, well they’re the broads from PETA who go around telling us to all become vegetarians to save the planet.

The problem is that LettuceLady is from Canada, and her local newspaper gave her a glowing review for her do goodism. One of her friends gushes:

“She loves animals so much and always has. We’d go for a jog and if we ever found a stray dog, we’d spend hours looking for its owner, so the jog would never end. She’s always cared about everybody. It’s just something in her.”

How nice. She cares about stray dogs.

Wonder if she noticed the street kids? Or the families, just up from their farms looking for work, who camp out on the streets? They’re easy to find: often they shelter in the underpasses of the highway (the government has tried to stop this by erecting fences, but they people now just camp next to the fences, in even more danger from stray cars). MySariSariStore Blog has photos of Manila street kids HERE.

Excuse me, but PETA goes around worrying about animals “They are kept in crowded, filthy enclosures and denied everything that is natural and important to them”.

What they don’t worry about is kids who live in filthy enclosures, and are denied decent quality food.

Good nutrition requires high quality protein. That means meat, fish, or eggs in your diet. And to supply enough cheap food for people to eat, means modern farming methods, including modern chicken farms and fish farms.

You can’t feed them with chickens raised on small farms where a farmer has a dozen or two hens and sells one off every week or two to make a few extra pesos. And you can’t feed ten million people in the Manila area by allowing each family to have a few chickens in your back yard. To feed the city folk, you need intensive methods of raising chickens..

This is our farm: Made of local materials, we use fans to cool, and bamboo floors that are easy to keep clean (dirt is swept through the slats, and we recycle the manure for our organic fertilizer).

But raising chickens in a similar fashion is common all over Asia. This if Engineer Ziyaee’s farm, near Tehran.

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Again, clean chickens in a clean environment.

You could repeat similar examples in India, Thailand, Pakistan, or any number of places that have expanding urban populations and more people who earn decent wages who want to eat a decent meal at the end of the day.

Maybe raising chickens isn’t as glamourous as strutting around in lettuce leaves showing your tush to the world and feeling self righteous, but the poultry business in Asia is enabling people to eat better, which in my eyes is a good thing.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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