The May 6 Edgy Mama column, “Chicken Education,” is another fine example of speciesism.
Anne Fitten Glenn’s feeble attempt at humor falls very flat here, simply because she degrades a species [whose members] she doesn’t particularly care for unless they’re dead, cooked and lying on her plate. It may be that chickens, with their “beady little eyes,” don’t particularly care for humans, with our insatiable blood lust. But the chickens are helpless to save themselves against such a powerful enemy, of course.
Some people claim that locally raised animals aren’t treated that badly, as if that excuses the fact that their entire lives are manipulated solely to satiate the desires of human beings, and end in brutal killing 99 percent of the time. This isn’t any sodium-pentobarbital-induced euthanasia; this is throat-slitting with knives and blades. To many compassionate people, the problem is not about where the animal is killed—next door or 1,000 miles away—but the fact that she is killed in the first place. Such killing is made possible by the deep disregard for those we consider “other,” combined with the myth of human superiority. We want what the other possesses, and [we] can harm, use and abuse her without fear of retaliation—so we do.
Despite Glenn’s obvious dislike of chickens, she acknowledges that the birds have personalities and desires. She writes that all but one like to be held. If a being is capable of [that emotion], she is also capable of fear and sadness, which I’m sure she feels in spades when, after weeks or months of being held with tenderness, she suddenly finds herself in the relentless grip of a slaughterer. What a betrayal.
I am terribly saddened to see area schools embracing wholeheartedly the myths that animals are here exclusively for human use, that free-range equals freedom, and that animal agriculture equals sustainability.
— Wendy Kobylarz