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Why Do They Put Arsenic in Chicken Feed?

It’s still standard practice on factory chicken farms to dose the birds with arsenic. Arsenic makes the birds grow faster and helps control a common intestinal disease of chickens.

This means, among other problems, an ecological disaster wherever the poultry industry is concentrated.  The Delmarva Peninsula, historically one of the most productive fisheries in the U.S., is now nearly an ecological wasteland.  Researchers estimate that between 11 and 12 metric tons of arsenic are applied to agricultural land there every year through poultry waste, and arsenic in some household wells reaches up to 13 times the EPA tolerance limit.

But that’s far from the only worry.  According to Grist:

“Then there's the question of arsenic traces in industrial chicken meat. In 2006, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) tested chicken samples from supermarkets and fast-food joints -- and found that 55 percent contained detectable arsenic.”

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