It’s quite amazing, but in the U.S. anyway, it’s hard to find any fast food that doesn’t serve chicken, chicken, or chicken. Why is that?
Because chickens are easy to grow, grow from babies to maturity very quickly, don’t eat much (when calculated over time), eat cheap food, and as a bonus, lay eggs in the meantime.
So my antipathy toward eating chicken started this way: I used to have a friend who was a semi-vegetarian. I thought that was admirable, and I like mostly vegetarian foods anyway, but couldn’t see myself giving up meat. Who can live without bacon?
I decided I would focus on one animal only to start with, and that was chicken. I would give up chicken, and then work on the other animals. It didn’t hurt that at the time, I had recently seen an undercover video made by the Humane Society of the U.S. showing workers in a chicken house slamming chickens into a concrete wall and killing them, just for entertainment.
Never mind cattle feed lots so large they can be seen from space. Never mind pig farms. One thing at a time.
Here’s how that’s worked out. I still eat chicken, though very rarely. I’m a complete failure at eating according to principle. I will only eat chicken wings, and then only two, because if I eat six, it means they had to kill three chickens for them. (Not that they wouldn’t have anyway.) Sometimes I get a two-piece chicken meal from somewhere, which consists of a wing and a breast. I eat the wing, and I eat the skin from the chicken breast and throw the rest away. I wish someone could come up with a way to skin chickens without killing the chicken. You know, kind of like shearing a sheep. (Except sheep-shearing doesn’t remove skin.) Last I checked, skin is critical to survival.
So what’s happened is that not only do I feel guilty for eating chicken at all, I’ve taught myself to gag during the process. I didn’t realize that you could voluntarily condition yourself this way.
I’m hopeless. I’ll never be able to do this. And I think I shouldn’t have tried. When my semi-vegetarian friend became very ill, she had to start eating meat again, for the protein. She felt terrible. I said, do what the Native Americans did: ask forgiveness for taking its life so that you could live.
Me too. I’m not sure that any of us can successfully be vegetarians. From an evolutionary standpoint, we aren’t made that way.