We take way too much for granted. We already know that. But we still do.
I am a ‘vegetarian’, in the sense that I do not eat meat. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I also don’t eat birds. I do eat fish and dairy products, however, and I am not interested in defending that choice. That is not why I initiated this thread.
I started to eat a hard-boiled egg the other day (yes, I am aware it is an undeveloped foetus). Then I stopped and began examining it and thinking about it. I like eggs. I enjoy eating them. I also admire them. They are miracles of biological engineering. I actually think mammals took a step backward when they abandoned egg-laying in favour of giving birth.
You can’t admire a product without becoming interested in its source. Chickens are often portrayed as brainless meat machines. Many see them as figures of fun. But I think chickens are marvellous animals. Not only do they produce something as amazing as eggs, but they are also a major source of food themselves, in a seemingly endless variety of forms. I don’t eat them, but even I can appreciate their value to those who do. Yet many people seem vaguely contemptuous and dismissive of ‘chooks’. Maybe this is another case of familiarity breeding contempt.
People should stop and consider for a moment what would happen if chickens suddenly vanished. Not only would that leave an immense hole in the fast-food choice of most New Zealanders, a great number of processed foods would also disappear or become prohibitively expensive. Eggs are used in almost everything. There go your cakes and pies, for starters.
Fortunately, chickens are great survivors. We need them a lot more than they need us. When chooks disappear into the wild, they get on perfectly well in almost any environment. They have no problem at all finding food and staying alive. How many of us could make that claim?
Chickens ought to be worshipped, the way cats were in Egypt. At the very least they deserve to be respected as the remarkable creatures they are. Think about that the next time you dig into your greasy bucket of drumsticks. I declare this Admire a Chicken Day.