by Andrew Kirschner
I am a chicken.
I have the same five senses as you.
I can see, smell, touch, hear, and taste.
I experience pain, misery, loneliness, and happiness.
I like to socialize and enjoy time with my family and friends.
I am intelligent and follow a pecking order.
I can recognize other chickens by sight and smell.
I nest and nurture my young.
I chirp dozens of vocalizations and speak my own language.
I have a long term memory.
I like to sit in trees.
I run towards food because I enjoy eating.
I am scared of loud noises.
I have a purpose in this world just like you and yet
I am the most disrespected and mistreated animal
on the face of the earth.
I am a chicken.
The majority of humans show no regard for my life.
They ascribe no reason for my existence
beyond being tortured and killed for food.
They show me no mercy but ask for it for themselves and those they love,
including their own animals they keep as pets.
I wonder how they can say that they can't watch someone slaughter me
but can still bring themselves to pay someone to do it and eat me.
I wonder if they will ever see the irony of calling themselves animal lovers
while they fund the abuse of animals for food.
I bet if they met me and got to know me
and held me on their lap
they wouldn't eat me.
I am a chicken.
I am crowded in a warehouse where I am unable to move freely
my entire life.
I do not ever see the light of day or breathe fresh air
unless I am being transported in a truck
where I will often die from cold weather exposure or heat stroke.
I sleep in my own feces or the feces from cages above that fall on my head.
Factory farmers mislead you into believing I am treated humanely
by telling you that I am free-range.
Don’t believe them.
They abuse me in ways that would shock you.
"Free-range" or "cage-free" means that
instead of putting me in a cage,
I am packed on a sordid warehouse floor
where I live with thousands of other chickens
in less than a square foot of space for each of us.
You're told I'm cage-free so you will feel less guilty
and so the factory farmers can charge you more money
and increase their profits.
The cruelty is the same.
My beak is cut off with a hot blade.
It is excruciating pain.
I do not receive anesthesia.
They cut my beak off so when I go crazy,
I don’t fight with other chickens and kill them.
It is not my nature to go crazy and kill other chickens
any more than it is your nature to go crazy and kill other humans.
Imagine the living conditions that would cause me to kill
I am genetically altered to grow twice as fast as I’m supposed to grow.
I am so heavy that I can’t stand anymore.
The weight breaks my legs.
I am fed growth hormone that you ingest when you eat me.
That means you’re taking steroids that can kill you.
Our heart and lungs can’t support the forced growth
causing billions of us to die before slaughter.
I am filled with antibiotics to prevent my death before I’m killed.
You eat those antibiotics and your body develops an immunity to them
which places you at risk to resist them when you’re sick and need them.
You think you know what I taste like but you do not.
I am stuffed with preservatives and flavorings
that create what you believe tastes like chicken.
It isn't healthy for you to eat me.
You've been fooled by the meat industry into believing otherwise.
Unsanitary living conditions
cause us to die of thirst, overheating, infections, and diseases.
It is common for 20,000 of us
to be crammed in one broiler house in a factory.
The electrical current used to kill us is often set low
so it doesn’t ruin the meat on our bones.
In many cases, it doesn’t kill us and we are thrown
into a scolding hot tank of water
to remove our feathers while we are still conscious.
You can hear us scream from a mile away.
A mechanical blade is also used to slash our throats.
Many times it isn’t properly aligned
and only partially slashes our throats,
leaving us to die miserable deaths.
These killing errors happen to millions of us.
If you think my life is bad, read about what they do
to battery hens to lay eggs.
Their lives are even worse.
I know you don't see any of this happen
but it does
to billions of chickens like me
and it's scary
and I can't understand why
you support it
and think nothing of it.
I am a chicken.
If I could speak, I would beg you not to eat me anymore.
I want to be free like other birds.
I want you to respect my life on this earth as you value your own.
Your existence is only more important than mine in your mind.
Simply because you believe it
doesn't make it so.
Knowing what you know now,
that you don't need to eat me to survive,
and that my life and death are cruel
beyond your imagination,
and that you say you love animals,
are you still going to pay someone
to torture and kill me?
Or will you make a humane decision
and ask others to do the same?
I was a chicken
and I wish my life meant more to you.
More than 100 billion animals are slaughtered worldwide every year. This is how many animals are killed every minute by the meat, dairy, and egg industry:
313,570 marine animals
1,017 cows and calves
226 rodents (excluding rabbits)
219 pigeons and other birds
31 horses, donkeys, mules
If you eat meat, you are eating dead animals that have lived miserable lives and died horrible deaths. No matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you are complicit in the process. In the depth of your conscience, not even in a culture where it has become second nature to eat animals, can you deny the existence of this reality.
Please consider making a lifestyle change. A vegan diet is healthier, better for the environment, and does not support animal torture. This isn’t about assessing blame; it’s about saving animals’ lives and the planet and helping you to live a healthier life. Please search your hearts and minds and give it some thought. It’s much easier than you think. For more information, please consider reading The Food Revolution by John Robbins or Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Thank you for keeping an open mind. I believe in your capacity to change.