Please, Won’t Someone Think of the Chickens?

Quick one tonight, and this is merely because my left leaning followers on Twitter are complaining to me that 140 tweets are not enough for them to convey their thoughts regarding my question today, which was essentially this:

Why are some of the folks who are convinced of the sentience of chickens unconvinced that an unborn baby is a person?

I got a wide variety of interesting responses. Some were very emotional and sweet from either side of the political spectrum, with personal experience and anguish. Some were quite brief and to the point. I do have to admit that those responses came from my more conservative followers. They seemed to immediately grok what I was asking. I also had my fair share of multi-tweet analysis of what it means to be sentient, brain development stages, and is-a-zygote-a-baby type questions. I also got a dollop of silliness and snark, which I expect and enjoy.

Those of you who wanted more air time please, log your responses below in my comments section. I have to explain one thing, though. My tolerance for people who lack reading comprehension is limited. Because some of you are going to think this, I am not comparing eggs to human fetuses. I am asking why some of the folk who agonize over the treatment of chickens & might possibly lambast you for eating an egg still think the jury is out on the human soul. That’s all.

Fair warning: people who post “morality aside” will evoke laughter. Both are moral choices. Someone choosing not to eat traumatized chicken or eggs, unless they are allergic to traumatized chicken meat/eggs, is making as moral a decision as someone choosing to keep a child.

My summation on Twitter was that it made a certain kind of sense to think that the sentience of chickens & the personhood of fetuses were both ludicrous concepts, just as it makes sense that someone concerned about the personhood of chickens would fiercely fight to protect the personhood of fetuses. See greater path Buddhism for how that works. Sentience is as sentience does; you can’t reserve it for one life form and not the ones higher up in the food chain.

Funny quick story: one of the weirdest conversations I had with my ex boyfriend was during Planet Earth. He was furious, livid, outraged & beside himself when the fox ate the chicks. I asked him what was wrong, because although it was disturbing to watch, his response was kind of over the top. He said, “Those are defenseless babies! This is horrible!” I blinked. “That’s a fox. She wants to feed her babies. I mean are you actually serious?” and then I had to shut up because I had apparently crossed some kind of heartless bastard line.

What floors me is the picking & choosing what poor defenseless creature counts as someone worth fighting to protect. Isn’t every vulnerable creature worthy of our concern?

Sorry, PETA, but I am squarely in the “chickens are squawky, mobile vegetables” camp. And while I believe women should have the same rights as men, I am deeply saddened by the idea that anybody would punish a child for something over which the child had no control. Don’t use the rape card on me; I’ve been there, survived that.

Killing should only be for self defense & sustenance. From what are you protecting yourself? (Here is a good time to invoke the life of the mother exception.)

Lots of us childless wonders want to adopt your kids. Those of you who want to use the foster kids argument, it is a sad fact that older children do get placed in the system for ages because of the stupidity & cruelty of their birth parents. This I give you. But that does not translate where a new baby is concerned. There are waiting lists for those.  Foster kids tend to come as a package deal (adopt all of the siblings or none at all) and have severe disorders like RAD. It takes a very special person to adopt a foster child, and I think many people are more special than they imagine

Why chickens and not children? I guess that’s the briefest, most conservative way to ask that question. What’s the logic?

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7 thoughts on “Please, Won’t Someone Think of the Chickens?

  1. tpanneck says:

    First, of course your conservative followers were going to possess shorter answers — they don’t hold either view and probably don’t have an interest in defending what would at first glance seem to be contradictory. Non-argument will always be more concise than argument!

    Now, I’ll have to be clear: I am merely an apologist for the views and can see instances where possessing both views is not inconsistent. So, all of the “I” pronouns are merely to make my speech clearer and don’t reflect my actual politics.

    All that being said, here’s a few ways to avoid the cognitive dissonance.

    1. Chickens are fully developed organisms while unborn children are not. Granted, this distinction has a range, but it would boil down to viability. Because chickens are viable and embryos are not, I can justify removing an embryo because it is not a human life and is merely a collection of cells. This would resolve the sentience debate above because the underdeveloped embryos lack the ability to express sentience because they lack the requisite neural structures.

    2. Political considerations in the abortion debate trump my personal moral considerations. In other words, while I would never condone receiving an abortion I can allow abortion to be legal to prevent worse outcomes for those who would choose to receive an abortion anyways (i.e., unsafe abortions).

    Given such considerations, I am able to support abortion while condemning it morally while at the same time refusing to eat chicken because killing a chicken is also an immoral act.

    3. I don’t have a problem with either case (I find administration of abortions to be morally okay and same with the killing of chickens), but I am opposed to the treatment the chickens receive prior to death. Under this line of thinking, the reason I am not eating chickens is because I am opposed to factory farming conditions rather than the act of killing a chicken. This would even account for those folks who would criticize your egg eating.

    4. I value the rights of chickens over the rights of humans for whatever reason. I am steeped in self-abnegation and guilt because I am human and think humans are a scourge upon the Earth. Although I’m not sure what would possess a person to think like this, it would allow for holding both views and not be inconsistent.

    Also, the Planet Earth anecdote was hilarious.

  2. eforhan says:

    I find it funny that I was able to write in two Tweets pretty much of what tpanneck covered in a half-dozen Tweets and a large post. Sure, it required my knowing that KJ is no idiot, but that was of little risk.

    I’m sure it has to do with KJ’s conservative followers having to use sin-gal sil-a-bull words, or sumfin. 😉

  3. eforhan says:

    Hey KJ,

    I think tpanneck covered the bases pretty well (even if I gave him some grief over his first paragraph). I do believe the key really does boil down to the view that it’s just a mass of cells — like a sick appendix or even a parasite.

    Perhaps if abortions would have been more properly-framed in that the idea of the actual choice lay within the decision to have sex (for some 95% of abortions, at least), then we’d not be thinking in such terms.

    But since Roe v. Wade, it’s been considered a part of her body and not a separate (if dependent) human. But even if we don’t argue within the very murky waters of “when does it have the human essence”, what gets me is that there are plenty of people out there who have no problems with third trimester abortions. I mean: WTH?

  4. Manostorgo says:

    As a child, I refused to eat eggs once I found out what they were. The idea of eating unborn chickens seemed gross. I made exceptions for eggs in potato salad though and of course eggs used for cake mix. But pretty much for me its “out of sight, out of mind.”

    I am not a huge carnivore and I don’t like eating animals much. But I recognize that man was made to eat animals, but we were also made to kill each other in competition for scarce resources too. So I am all for population control, preferrably prior to conception via birth control. But when I hear that 45% of Haiti’s population is under 18, I think there’s a country that needs fewer orphanages and more planned parenthood (mostly for condoms and ‘the pill”, but yah also for ‘some’ abortions) clinics.

    In regards to abortion, I take the Hillary Clinton stand, that it should remain legal but rare. That is, much can be done to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Its a middle ground approach that neither of the hardcore sides likes. For some reason shit always turns into “either, or”, but most people recognize life is made of greys and see as a practical approach to a hot topic.

    As far as “punishing” a child…there’s a huge difference between ending a life before it really begins and killing an 8 year old kid.

    If I had my choice, I’d go a step farther. Parents(men & women) get 2 abortions. A condom breaks, fine whatever, accidents happen. That’s #1, so we mark it down in the man and the woman’s file. #2 comes around, very well, we’ll take care of it. But now the man gets a vasectomy and the woman a tubal ligation. (I’d be willing to approve this process for just 1 abortion) (I’d make exceptions for cases of rape, but we need a doctor’s note and police report…don’t worry, in my hypothetical police state, my justice system is quite swift)
    The key ingredient is putting equal pressure on the man and the woman to be responsible and accept the consequences.
    (Oh and in my police state, eating meat is outlawed. )

    In dealing with the real world though, I really don’t give a shit.
    1. I am not a woman (so this right doesn’t apply to me)
    2. I am not a fetus (outlawing abortion won’t protect me)
    3. I use birth control (unless lightning strikes, I won’t deal w this)
    4. I only eat white chicken breast meat. Can’t stand dark meat.
    5. Chicken tastes great with BBQ sauce.

  5. tpanneck says:

    @eforhan Hey, I like to be thorough.

    @Manostorgo After all, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “three generations of imbeciles is enough,” right? Your “step farther” is a stone’s throw from eugenics. It’s fairly reminiscent of the pre-Roe vs. Wade “package deals” which were disproportionately offered to black women: physicians would agree to perform the abortion if the woman agreed to sterilization. Hey, why don’t we just be proactive about it and force sterilization on everyone that has promiscuous tendencies? You’re advocating a rather repugnant philosophy, there.

    It’s even weirder given that you seem to imply that education and birth control are better solutions to preventing unwanted pregnancies in the above paragraphs.

    • Manostorgo says:

      @tpanneck Oh indeed my hypothetical police state is repugnant and not meant to be satire. Which is why I am careful to distinguish between what I would advocate in my imaginary world and what I believe will work in the real world. Sadly the “abstinence only” crowd tends to lack the sense of reality and side with wishful thinking.

      My police state policy would be a way of enforcing consequences for social behavior. My main concern in this scenario is applying consequences equally to men as well as women. There is a complete lack of equity in terms of how abortion affects women but not men, yet if men were held accountable beyond shelling out $300 bucks or just ignoring phone calls, perhaps men would be more likely to do their part in preventing unwanted pregnancies.

      Now of course I know there really is no viable way to do this in our real world. In fact we don’t even ostracize people socially for their mistakes anymore, thus removing any and all pressure to bad(though not illegal) behavior. Hell we practically reward and worship bad behavior these days. ::cough:: Jersey Shore ::cough:: Real Housewives ::cough::

      So in reality, yes I fully advocate comprehensive mutli-staged sex education. Telling a 16yr old to use condoms when they eventually have sex is like telling someone to wear seatbelts as it will help them in the event of a collision. No one says…”oh this will protect me, great lets go crash a car…” Sadly some people think letting kids know about condoms will make them run out and have sex.
      I’ve known teens who say “but a condom ruins the moment”, to which I always reply, so does a baby crying in the middle of the night. And a pack of condoms is always cheaper than a pack of diapers.

      Of course a 10 year old doesnt need to know about condoms or STD’s, but they should be given some basic info on how their physical bodies will change and their hormones will make them insane. So definitely at certain grade levels we update the information as they mature and fall into certain risk categories.

      Sadly even this type of approach is still met with much opposition as though it will corrupt kids. Which unless someone is living the Amish life, Google is showing them more than any school will and without informing them of consequences.

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