This is just a quick vignette illustrating the compassion and sympathy some people are capable of with regard to animals that provide humans with sustenance. It’s a story about a farmer in Portland, Oregon (of course!) who has gotten into the business of helping people retire their egg-laying chickens to a farm, instead of retiring them to the dinner table:
While many Portlanders still pluck aging birds for the broiler, others seek a blissful, pastoral end for them. Because most chickens lay the majority of eggs early in life, and can live about 10 years, the quest for a place where chickens can live out their sunset years has brought a boom to at least two farm animal sanctuaries and led Pete Porath, a self-described chicken slinger, to expand the portion of his business that finds new homes for unwanted birds.
“I would say I’m a halfway house for chickens on the move,” he said.
Mr. Porath, who brokers chicks to feed stores and other buyers from his five-acre farm in Estacada, first began finding new homes for birds as a free service to smooth bad feelings about misdelivered roosters. Now he “rehomes” 1,000 to 2,000 birds a year, most belonging to a unique subset he dubs “the Portland birds.”
Most people will laugh at this story, as an eccentricity. And I can see it being written into Fred Armisen’s often funny TV show, Portlandia. But imagine what the world would be like if this sort of thinking, and respect for animals, was mainstream instead of scoffed at as too inconvenient (or costly) for humans. And imagine what the world would be like if our moral calculus demanded such concern for the welfare of animals we exploit. Would be fun to find out (and you gotta love the fact that Portland allows each homeowner to keep 3 chickens).
But I guess “Colin” is one chicken that didn’t make it: