Ah, the lowly chicken! They outnumber people on this terrestrial orb. They provide eggs, meat, amusement, and poop. They are culture’s unsung heroes. It’s about time they had their day.
The following is a press release from May 4, 2005, from the United Poultry Concerns website:
United Poultry Concerns is launching International Respect for Chickens Day on May 4th. We’re urging everyone to do an ACTION of compassion for chickens on that day. This can range from writing a letter to the editor to tabling at a local mall to showing the movie Chicken Run to students, family and friends.
“International Respect for Chickens Day is a day to celebrate the dignity, beauty, and life of chickens and to protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations,” says UPC president Karen Davis. “Chickens are lively birds who have been torn from the leafy world in which they evolved. We want chickens to be restored to their green world and not be eaten.”
The idea for International Respect for Chickens Day traces to famed Le Show host and star of The Simpsons, Harry Shearer, who proclaimed Sunday, May 14, 2000 – Mother’s Day – National Respect the Chicken Day because hens are justly praised as exemplars of devoted motherhood.
In March 2005, Walt Disney Studios contacted United Poultry Concerns about Disney’s upcoming movie Chicken Little, starring a chicken as a hero, just as in real life chickens are heroic protectors of their families and flocks.
In Letters from an American Farmer, a study of American colonial society published in 1782, St. John de Crevecoeur wrote about chickens, “I never see an egg brought to my table but I feel penetrated with the wonderful change it would have undergone but for my gluttony; it might have been a gentle, useful hen leading her chickens with a care and vigilance which speaks shame to many women. A cock perhaps, arrayed with the most majestic plumes, tender to his mate, bold, courageous, endowed with an astonishing instinct, with thoughts, with memory, and every distinguishing characteristic of the reason of man.”
Bird specialists agree that chickens are highly intelligent individuals with social skills that Professor John Webster calls “pretty close to culture – and an advanced one at that. Chickens are sentient creatures and have feelings of their own,” he says. International Respect for Chickens Day urges people to honor chickens by performing a compassionate action for chickens on May 4th. (http://www.upc-online.org/nr/42705irfcd.htm)