I often wonder if people who have not ever interacted closely with chickens read these moments of love and adoration that are posted by myself and you (the other chicken lovers on this page) and on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Chickens-as-pets-not-food-Chicken-Rescue-and-Rehabilitation/101165646600196, and think twice about eating chicken the next time they sit down to a meal? or are curious to know a live chicken better?
Surely with all these assumed rational sane people posting testimonials about the joy they get from their relationships with chooks, we have to wonder if we have chronically underestimated these conscious sentient birds as a major food group. I know that in the moments where I am with my chooks and I see them communicating with me and each other, and experiencing very specific emotions, I am horrified at how much they must know at the moment of going to slaughter, or the craziness of being cooped up in a small cage in a battery house. How much they must feel emotionally, and of course there is no doubt that they feel physical pain.
In my experience of chickens, I have no doubt that I have seen complex emotions expressed like jealousy, a sense of loss of a loved one, depression, anxiety, anger …. I have also witnessed very clear communication between chickens, and between my chickens and myself. Surely if we are not entirely sure whether we are causing massive physical and emotional harm and torture to a sentient being, we should err on the side of caution, and give up the practice that may be causing this, until such time as we have proof either way. Is this not good business practice in general?
Killing and eating farm animals is no longer about an animal living comfortably and happily for some of its life and then reaching a quick ‘compassionate’ end. Killing and eating animals is about factory farming – mechanised and effective daily torture of these creatures and a slow and often drawn out hideously cruel end. Search the internet and watch the videos – these are not trumped-up charges manufactured by crazy ‘bunny huggers’ – these are undeniable facts that are routinely practiced at the majority of big farms and abbatoirs. This is information that is being deliberately hidden from the consumer with non disclosure, ridiculous marketing of pics of happy cows, chickens, pigs etc to continue the existence of a very lucrative meat industry.
I recently heard of a restaurant in Cape Town, where they are growing a beautiful veggie garden outside the restaurant. You can watch through the glass walls of the restaurant your veggies being picked for your particular meal, or go and assist in the picking yourself. What a wonderful way to get people to get back to nature, to be aware of what a healthy veggie out of the ground looks like etc. This restaurant does serve chicken apparently – I wondered if you can go choose your chicken, carry it to the slaughter block and watch it being slaughtered next to your table, or assist in the slaughter yourself – I think not. That , I believe, would not be such a popular restaurant culture.