What does the Constitution have to do with Chicken Processing?

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Devin walked up to me this week to get his milk with a common but key question: why can’t I find an answer on what it takes to process people’s birds and sell mine?  

He’d scoured the USDA, because the literature and social media wisdom said all animals have to be USDA processed to sell them or parts thereof. He’d googled through the Michigan Department of Ag because he knew there was something about a Michigan license. But didn’t find the answer to his question in the official bureaucratic sources.  

Here’s the quick answer, as it relates to chickens: there is no law regulating the sale of live farm animals. We offer chickens as a CSA, officially, meaning you are buying a live chicken, and we’ll process it for free if you’d like.  Everyone likes, of course, so the chickens typically leave in coolers rather than crates. There is also no law regarding one person processing another person’s chickens for them. You are expected to do due diligence such that if you bring your chickens to someone to process you make sure you feel good about the sanitation and handling of your food.  You’re expected to adult this one, not trust the government to take care of it.  

When you need a license or a USDA inspected kill (essentially bringing the government in as a business partner) is when you do business with other businesses that also do business with the government via licensure. It’s a nifty racket.  If you want to expand your business into a wholesale market or some farmer’s markets, it may be a necessary evil.  But, if you can avoid having a capricious and demanding  business partner like a governmental,, unelected, unaccountable agency, that’s a wise way to go. 

And we haven’t touched on Contract Law, wherein you, as a private citizen, can contract with other private citizens and the government really can’t butt in.  Sell your chicken to Jane. It’s a private contract and not under the jurisdiction of the agencies. 

What does that have to do with the Constitution? 

“nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

That line comes from the Bill of Rights, 5th Amendment. According to the Constitution, only duly elected lawmakers, representing the governed (that’s you), can make LAW. And, part of due process is that the average person should be able to read and understand their rights and responsibilities under said law. 

A regulation is not a law. Period.

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Unfortunately, law makers have pulled a King George: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance….He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:” (Declaration of Independence)

However, the regulations these agencies make are still not LAW. We can give testimony to the harassment and the eating out of our substance, but that is all they’ve got.  Additionally, due process is not served when Devin can’t find out what he’s supposed to do in order to be a law abiding citizen.  Circling back, that’s because there isn’t a law. The Constitution carefully delineated that process so that the abuses that led the colonists to separate from King George and Great Britain would not be repeated.

The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence have a lot to do with chicken processing.  Your right to life (if nourishing your self isn’t life, what is?), liberty, and pursuit of happiness (property) are Divinely given, and the government isn’t God. We’re studying these documents and our government in our homeschool this semester, and it was eye opening to read the Declaration of Independence and really consider why the colonists felt it necessary to take on a world power to defend and hold fast the human rights God gave them and their great grandfathers died to secure for them from the monarchy. 

What does the Constitution have to do with Chicken Processing?

The Constitution and Bill of Rights are your guarantee that you have the God given right to your life and how you live it, the liberty to provide for yourself within the proper common laws, and the right to your own property. Grow, process, and enjoy your chickens. Empower others to do the same by helping them out and processing their birds for them. Or providing them with nourishing, life building food. 

The Constitution is for a government by the consent of the governed, to protect our Divine rights to butcher our own chickens and feed ourselves as we see fit.  

Come talk with us about this more! Join us in the Tribe+ membership as an ACCESS member to learn more about chicken processing and how the Constitution protects your right to farm. 

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