Editor’s Letter

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 6.29.32 PMby Jane Bauer

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

I have a lot of mixed feelings about chickens; interestingly, I do not have mixed feelings about eggs. I think an examination of how humans relate to chickens can tell us a great deal about the ambiguousness of our morality. I know many people who will expound pedantically on the cruelties of cockfighting and then think nothing of picking up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. Humans – we’re complex like that.

According to PETA, “Chickens are arguably the most abused animals on the planet”. And yet to be a voice for the chicken isn’t as noble or glamorous as fighting for dolphins’ freedom or the rights of dogs to be domesticated, treated as surrogate-children and flown to other countries for a better life. Worldwide over 50 billion chickens are slaughtered every year. Most of these are industrialized, fattened and killed at 42 days. A backyard chicken can live up to 12 years. So why are chickens so undervalued as sentient beings?

Screen Shot 2017-12-26 at 6.29.56 PMGranted, they aren’t as cuddly as puppies but they do fit comfortably in the crook of your arm and will rub their head on you in a very endearing way. Intelligence is a factor often given to justify supporting rights for certain animals – the dolphin being the poster-child for this movement. However, chickens aren’t stupid. They communicate with more than 24 vocalizations, each with a different meaning; they also recognize each other and have a good memory.

This month our writers explore chickens and the articles showcase the diversity of their interests and views. From pro-cockfighting to the history of the jungle fowl, to the variety of its call, to recipes on how to use the less-appreciated bits. Wherever your tastes lie on the chicken spectrum, we hope you enjoy this issue.

Wishing you the best in 2018!


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