AR-News: New York Times Letter to the Editor (Re: On the Nature of Hens)

Verush at Verush at
Thu Jul 31 11:25:51 EDT 2003

To the Editor:

Re "The Home Stretch," by Verlyn Klinkenborg (The Rural Life, July 27): Animals and insects do not ponder anything (or so we believe), yet over the eons they incorporate their life experience into their genes.

I live in a region of the country whose major industry is one of the country's top commercial poultry producers. Recently I watched an 18-wheel vehicle round the corner at the one major intersection in our small town. Its sole cargo: live chickens, in hundreds of crates bound together.

The creatures showed evidence of their truncated existences, their feathers pale and sparse and their bodies underdeveloped. These little chickens, who are likely, as Mr. Klinkenborg quotes an animal behaviorist, "more sophisticated than we thought," bore their ride with an unnatural resignation.

I winced as I contrasted Mr. Klinkenborg's little broody Dorking hen with the living creatures I observed that day. Are we corrupting the very transmission of existence, and thus the nature of life, through corporate agribusiness? Do we tacitly support that corruption with every purchase of poultry and meat at our local grocery market?

Mount Pleasant, Tex., July 27, 2003

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