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Whenever Dr. John Blake hears someone assail modern-day poultry industry, he’s often reminded of one of the most compelling books he ever read about a time when meat was collected, dressed and sold in a radically different way than it is now.
“Fifty Years a Hunter and Trapper” recounts the life and times of Eldred Nathaniel Woodcock, a seasoned Pennsylvania outdoorsman who made a living for more than half a century hunting and trapping animals for downtown Philadelphia food markets.
“None of it was farm-raised; none of it was inspected; none of it passed through the food system that we all take for granted today,” says Blake, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System poultry specialist and Auburn University professor in the Department of Poultry Science.
A Critical Lesson for Consumers
He and his colleagues say consumers should draw a critical lesson from this account.
“It’s interesting because it puts the last 100-plus years into perspective — where we started and where we are today in terms of processed foods, whether it happens to be poultry, beef or pork,” Blake says.
“Not too long ago, the issue was about finding food, not so much how it looked or where it came from,” says Extension specialist and Auburn Poultry Science Professor Sarge Biligili.
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