01 September 2008

Chicken are people too

Seattle residents have recently been taking advantage of changes in city bylaws enabling them to keep chickens in their back yards, and have benefitted from the eggy byproducts produced by their pets.  But city-folk have a different attitude to keeping poultry than your conventional farmer, as a report on a chicken owners' website forum shows ('dual-purpose' means the chickens are both for eggs and for eatin'): 
An email pops up from a new member with a question: "At what age are 'dual-purpose' hens reasonable eating?" And that's when "it blew up," explained long-time member Laura McCrae in a phone interview last week. "It was the first time the subject had ever come up."   
The first email back was a sardonic slap. "Eat them now. Why wait? The little nuggets are the best ones!" McCrae remembers, "There had been a couple people asking what to do with extra roosters, and a couple of times it was jokingly suggested that you could eat your chicken, but this was the first time somebody had deliberately asked, what if I wanted to eat my chicken." A second member shared her own recent run-in with the distasteful topic. "Since I found out I have a rooster, many people have suggested we eat him. Yikes! He's just a little guy."

"Here in Seattle, we're allowed to keep chickens only as pets," someone reminded the group. "I understood when we got Mikala that we were making an agreement to keep Seattle ordinance. I love her and would do anything I could to stop anyone or anything from harming a feather on her body." The group's leader weighed in. "Simply take the unwanted bird to the vet and have it humanely euthanized. If you wish, hold your pet while it is being done. I can hear you farmer types laughing but most of us were not raised on farms and these chickens are our PETS."

Eating pets?  Come to think of it, who determines the boundaries here - dachsund doner with tabby tebbouleh, anyone?

- 'The chicken lovers' nightmare', Macleans.ca, 27 August 2008   

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