Friday, October 30, 2015
Sometimes passing by the television or half-listening to the radio or as a sidebar on the Internet, you catch a small part of a news story that gets you wondering. (It happens to me often.) This time I heard about people protesting for the better treatment of chickens so they can have a more pleasant life before they are killed and served up at fast food restaurants. Here is one such story.
The emphasis must be on fast food industry because they have more economic clout than individuals making their choices as the grocery store. It also gives people an opportunity to force their values on a lot of other people. Concerning any issue at all, note how easily that a minority of fanatics can impose their will on a majority of relatively indifferent citizens. They care; you don’t; you lose.
What struck me about the chicken story was a point of perspective. Does anyone hearing this story, or indeed the protesters themselves sit back and think about what a luxury it is to be concerned about the living conditions of chickens? These are not your property, chickens you rely on to provide a livelihood. They are not pets, favorite chickens that live in the backyard and provide you with eggs. These are stranger chickens, ones that you never interact with until they appear in the freezer section of the store or in the nugget box.
How many problems don’t we have to have to move the welfare of stranger chickens to the top of a priority list, important enough to change our buying habits or even give up our time to try to influence others to change their behavior? We must have all the food we want, shelter from the elements, a happy and healthy family, a wide circle of friends, job security, enough money in the bank to help us over rough spots in the future and be at peace with our faith or other concept of the power of the universe. In short, a person has to be pretty set in life to have the luxury to be able to stress about the living conditions of (stranger) chickens! That is pretty wonderful!
Of course, even those who are so set up in their own lives might consider the living conditions of other human beings, the poor in the inner cities, the refugees overseas, and the neighbor who needs a hand or just a kind word, before chickens. But people are free to make choices. It is important, though, when we make those choices to appreciate what we must already have that allows us the freedom and luxury to make them.