By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sorry, hens are expendable
Placeholder Image
I worked at a Foster Farms chicken ranch when I was a college student and know all I want to know about chickens. So I was very interested in the silly media stories last week implicating Gemperle Enterprises of mistreating hens. (I myself was responsible for the loss of a chicken so I'll get to that in a minute.)

It was a nasty job that my uncle offered me but I stuck with it for over a year (which discounts the theory that white people won't do farm labor). I wasn't too proud to take a job like that for I grew up in the country and was used to caring for animals.

I helped to weigh chickens for feed tests. Do you know what chickens do when you hang them upside down and hang them by their feet to be weighed? They flap their wings, squawk and they literally blast you with their bowels.

My main job was that of an egg picker. I had the job of running my hands through the laying nests of rice hulls to grab the egg from the mama hen. Just know that 99 percent of the hens don't take very kindly to a human stealing its future offspring. (Oh the cruelty of mankind, separating a chicken from its self-contained embryo.) You've no doubt heard the term "madder than a wet hen." Well, a chicken's defense is to raise a terrible fuss and peck your hand. If you have a sore on the back of your hand, they zero in on it.

One day I snapped. A hen pinched the living daylights of my hand with her beak and wouldn't let go. I grabbed her scrawny little neck and flung her from the nest. Most of the time the chickens engaged the wings in flight. This one hit the wall of the chicken house that she was unable to breathe, flopped around as chickens do in their final seconds and dropped died.

I felt bad about this act of chickencide. But let's keep it in perspective: IT WAS A CHICKEN!

Chickens are animals who have been put on earth with only one purpose: To be eaten by other creatures or to lay eggs to feed other creatures - like us! They are among the world's dumbest animals (next to the turkey, which is so stupid that it hasn't enough common sense to move to higher ground in a flood and will drown). A chicken has no soul. It has no spirit.

Despite that my anger led to the unintended death of a chicken, I don't advocate being unnecessarily cruel to animals. But in an industry where masses of animals are farmed, can animal rights advocates expect every bird to receive royal treatment? Individualized vet care for every chicken?

Complaints about Gemperle's chicken operation are overblown, if they're true at all. Let's analyze this. Mercy for Animals - whose goal is to get us all to quit eating animals - complains that some chickens were covered with feces. Pardon me but ... big deal. Chickens poop. Chicken farms don't have toilets for chickens! Even if they did, chickens wouldn't be able to use them for a chicken's brain is about the size of a human thumb. What would Mercy for Animals prefer? Shampooing and blow drying for all chickens marred by manure?

Chicken ranchers keep their chickens in houses. At the beginning of the season, the floor of the chicken house is laid with wood shavings or sawdust. At the end of the season the house is so laden with chicken manure that workers like myself were literally sliding in slick chicken manure. Once the chickens are shipped out, the crap is taken out and replaced with wood shavings.

Anyone who is around chickens knows that chickens peck other chickens and bleeding sores are common. It can't be stopped. Some are so badly pecked that they can die.

I saw other unfortunate things with chickens. When birds were transferred from one farm to another, I recall a chicken or two being accidentally decapitated when their trays were pulled from the truck and their neck was sticking where it shouldn't have been. Once when a truck rolled away, a loose chicken ran beneath a rolling wheel and literally exploded like a blown up brown bag being popped. Again, not pretty but when you work with animals, stuff happens.

Gemperle has issued a good point: They don't gain by the mistreatment of their hens; so why would they?

Why do animal rights groups carry on with silly assertions that animals have as much rights as people? My theory involves theology. Here's what I mean. If you believe in the Bible (and most Americans do), God was pretty clear that animals are not on the same plane as humans. He told people to go forth and populate the earth and have dominion over the animals of the earth. Now if you are a secular humanist, the Bible is all hogwash and you can trash God's order of things. You must come up with your own theory of life and lose all sight of reality. You start worshiping the created, not the Creator. You might even come up with a whacked out notion that even vegetables feel pain when they are plucked from the vine.

Also, animals don't think or have emotions like people do. We're not on the same plane. When I hear a group call for hens to be spared of small cages, I have to laugh. The Mercy for Animals people care more than the chickens. Hens are so dumb they don't care what size cage they are in. People, a bird doesn't see or experience things the way you do! You look at a cage and think, poor creature, he must be suffering in that tiny cage. Yeah, it would bother people to be in a cramped cage but the chicken is on a different plane of existence. Chickens don't feel happiness let alone base their happiness on cage size.

I eat chicken, turkey and beef. Unlike city slickers - who don't seem to know that meat comes from a slaughtered animal - I understand that when I go to Subway to order my standard fare, a turkey breast sandwich, that a turkey died somewhere. For every hamburger I eat, a cow died somewhere. Some are electrocuted while others are bashed in the head with a sledge hammer type device. Not pretty but that's the order of life.

It's time for those with common sense to cry foul when animal rights radicals cry for the fowl.

How do you feel? Let him know at