May 16, 2023

Consider the Chicken

by Dymitri Haraszewski (author's profile)


Consider the Chicken 4-18-23
Blog 1660
Dymitri Haraszewski

My sister recently sent me a video of her with her chickens. They're at the age where they start to look like actual chickens and not just fuzzy 2-legged kittens, so they're becoming less cute. I assumed I'd find them less interesting to watch. However, a funny thing happened when I saw how happy they were exploring their new outdoor coop with all that space in the fresh, spring air. One of them hopped up on her lap and snuggled in, and it was kind of amazing. Since I wasn't raised around chickens, they always seemed a bit...boring. Bland. You know, they had personalities that tasted like chicken, so to cluck. Buh-Kawk!! But, after watching that video, I can never unsee what I saw: these animals were happy, affectionate, and CLEARLY friends, not food.

Up to now, whenever I've thought of chickens, I mostly envisioned the factory farm scenario, and even the so-called "free range" birds left me with the impression of them being little more than a product. My sister's video was a turning point. If you've read my previous posts that touch on animal rights, particularly "Food for Thought" (June 2014) and "Lobster Lives Matter" (January 2022-a post evidently overlooked by my friend Tenzin, who surely would've burst a blood vessel at the infant circumcision portion of that one, lol! :)), then you'll already know that I feel strongly that the case for vegetarianism is a moral issue, and I'm very uncomfortable with my lifelong and apparently incorrigible carnivorousness. Chicken is certainly a favorite, so I guess I've had to subconciously keep pretending that these birds had very little going for them, sentence-wise. Trust me, I knew this was self-serving: even if they really did have just a meagre consciousness, I was still well aware that they experienced pain, probably fear, certainly thirst and hunger...all of which are great reasons to not murder a creature (or condone its murder) just because I like it's taste. But chicken meat IS everyhwere, it's cheap ("Cheep Cheep!"...ugh, sorry!), and often it's delicious, so I suppose I've tended to shut down the moral machinery to facilitate an unperturbed enjoyment of the yummy fowl flesh.'s getting even harder to pull off that trick of self-delusion.

The prime impact of this video on me has been this realization: that little chick who jumped up into my sister's lap and then relaxed in full trust and dependence, that bird was not unique. Given the chance, any of the millions of those doomed animals crammed into horrific commercial conditions, force-fed and pumped full of hormones with barely any space to themselves and absolutely no respite from this torturous existence between the day they hatch and the moment they are slaughtered for my "happy Meal"...literally any one of them could be my sister's beloved little bird-buddy. Suddenly it became so clear-there's simply no difference between the avian consciousness of the ill-fated "food animals" and that cuddl;y little chicky I saw in the video, which means...actually, no. It's almost too painful to think about. I don't need to spell out what it means.

I hope beyond hope that either those new meat limitations like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods become cheaper, more accessible, and more widely accepted than actual corpse cuttings, or that lab-grown real muscle tissue develops to where it's truly tasty and doesn't cost a zillion dollars to feed a family of four. We need this, our species does-it's a genuine moral imperative. We know-even when we block it out for peace of mind-we know that animals suffer, and that they have the potential to trust and love, to enjoy life and be happy. I think we must fibnally acknowledge that we simply have no right to rob them, on such a massive, profit-driven scale, of their right to a fair shot at these existential pleasures, certainly not just for our gluttonous convenience.

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Dymitri Harszewski
AC2622 E-Yard
P.O. Box Y09090
Ione, CA 95640

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Replies (2) Replies feed

jedson Posted 9 months ago. ✓ Mailed 8 months, 2 weeks ago   Favorite
That's a very nice statement, Dymitri. I agree completely. B (my spouse) and I became vegetarians after watching a couple of documentaries on how the meat factories really do treat chickens, pigs and cattle. We didn't feel our decision not to eat these animals would help them, but we just didn't want anything to do with it. We still do eat fish. They swim around and live normal fishy lives until they are caught. That doesn't seem so bad. Anyhow I admire your courage in stating what may be an unpopular view.

Dymitri Haraszewski Posted 7 months, 1 week ago.   Favorite
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