Consumer Freedom

How to Convert a Chicken Into a Blood-Spurting Pistol in One Easy Step

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Planet Chicken

Read a review of Planet Chicken, an "odd bird's-eye view" of the poultry industry, from a man with a chip on his shoulder and bird blood in his eyes. After recounting his summer farm job, which included chicken mass murder ("If you pull the neck too hard and the head comes off, chickens become blood-spurting pistols"), Spiked's Mick Hume gets into it:

An unsentimental attitude towards farm animals is actually sensible and human. Those who have to work with them for a living have always been the most clear-eyed about these matters – at least until the advent of hobby farmers who give their hens names like 'Chickpea'.

His swashbuckling wrap-up:

The notion that the wonders of modern farming amount to 'industrialised savagery' is the product of a conveyor belt of overfed dull ideas in our Chicken Little society, where people who should know better rush like headless chickens from one food and health panic to another (as epitomised by the bird flu scare about UK poultry). It reflects a culture that not only fears the future, but has also lost faith in the achievements of its own past, so that a great stride forward for human nutrition can be dismissed as 'inhumanity to animals'.

In the past it was said that you could judge the level of a society by its treatment of its prisoners. Frederick Engels argued that we should judge it by the way it treated the female half of its population. But only a society up to its own neck in misanthropic crap would accept that civilisation be judged according to how it treats its bloody chickens.

Side note: An Amazon search for this book yields the suggestion to "See our Chicken Seasonings selection in Grocery." Awesome.

Read more about life down on the farm from Ron Bailey.

NEXT: Rudy Giuliani: The Combover Years

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  1. Ah, nothing like a good false dilemma argument.

    Either it improves human nutrition, or it’s inhuman to animals. Can’t be both. Nope. Not around here.

  2. Ah, nothing like a good false dilemma argument.

    Either it’s one way around here at Reason, or it’s the other. Couldn’t be a third way. Nope. Not around here.

  3. Amazon.com Sales Rank: #998,381 in Books

  4. One could argue that modern industrial farming chicken farming practices have become less humane than our chicken farming ‘achievments of the past.’

    I havent really heard of debeacking or high density as being a histroically wide spread practice. Those practices have nothing to do with a stride towards human nutrition, but rather the bottom line; there is nothing wrong with maximizing profits, but lets not confuse the issues.

    Of course when you throw out pedagogical crap like, “but has also lost faith in the achievements of its own past, so that a great stride forward for human nutrition can be dismissed as ‘inhumanity to animals’. “, reasoned discussion really does go out the window.

  5. Jim Bob,

    Other than demonstrating that you don’t what a false dilemma fallacy is, was there some other point you were trying to make?

    Because that’s really all you managed there.

  6. Reason should to a profile on the boys behind Spiked. Are they Marxists? Are they liberal? What gives?

  7. I think letting your resentment towards animal rights activists take over you rational faculties and actually glorify and make light of mass systemic torture of innocent conscious animals is pitiful.

  8. Exactly, rickm.

    I call it Goldberg Syndrome, after Jonah Goldberg, who admitted last year that the main reason he supported the Iraq War and ignored the arguments against it was because he perveived the opposition to be lefties.

    Everything’s culture war with some people.

  9. When chickens have metaphysical debates I will respect them as moral equals, not before.

  10. Eh, there’s shades. I don’t think it’s immoral to raise animals for meat in a general sense (certainly not when it’s required for the society’s survival), but I think we can all agree that it would be immoral to run a slaughterhouse that killed the animals in the most long-drawn-out, painful way possible.

    Nor do I necessarily think there’s anything wrong with judging societies by how they treat their chickens, so long as they don’t treat their humans worse.

    It’s a muddy issue and a tough call.

    (Full disclosure: I eat mainly vegan; I do occasionally buy from local farms that raise humanely, but then I feel conflicted about it.)

  11. When chickens have metaphysical debates I will respect them as moral equals, not before.

    Why do they need to be equal? Why not lesser then you and your children but maybe slighly above a couch?

  12. Every moment you spend defending animal rights is a moment that could have been spent defending human rights.

  13. Timothy-
    Your straw man fallacy is so obvious that you should be embarrased. One, you are operating under the assumption that a necessary and sufficient condition for being considered as a ‘moral equal’ is that one can partake in metaphysical debates. This is patently false.

    Also, one does not need to be morally equal to a sentient human being in order to be granted even a modicum of respect and decency.

  14. I’m a chicken shit farmer from Carolina –

    Every moment you spend attacking people for defending animal rights is a moment you could be spending attacking people for not defending human rights.

  15. Another reason why I’ve taken up a “I won’t eat stuff unless I would feel ok killing, gutting, and butchering it myself” diet.
    I went to boarding school in Delaware, and that place is the mecca for chicken farms. Those places are truly disgusting, and most people that work in them get crazy lung diseases from inhaling powdered chicken shit all day. Not particularly humane for the animals or the workers.

  16. Your straw man fallacy is so obvious that you should be embarrased. One, you are operating under the assumption that a necessary and sufficient condition for being considered as a ‘moral equal’ is that one can partake in metaphysical debates. This is patently false.

    “Your ideas are intriguing and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”
    – Homer Simpson

    “Fuck chickens”
    – GILMORE

  17. I think letting your resentment towards animal rights activists take over you rational faculties and actually glorify and make light of mass systemic torture of innocent conscious animals is pitiful.

    I, for one, try only to glorify and make light of mass systemic torture of guilty animals.

    When chickens have metaphysical debates I will respect them as moral equals, not before.

    This raises a question. Is it alright to eat severely mentally disabled people? I’ve worked with individuals with less intelligence and awareness than baby chimps. So I’ve always wondered what makes a human with less intellectual/emotional capability than a chimp worth more than a chimp?

    Chickens, however, were meant to be eaten. By me. In great quantities.

  18. GILMORE
    If your idea of a refutation of an argument consists of “FUCK CHICKENS”, why even both engaging in a conversation about animal rights?

    Or is it that you resent animal rights activists and gain pleasure in disparaging their putatively noble cause by shallow name calling?

  19. How many of you actually look where you are walking or driving to make sure you don’t crush any insects? Why are insects of no concern but chickens are? And why aren’t we more humane to rats? How about those goddamned city ordinances that make it illegal to keep chickens, forcing me to buy from third parties?

    Head lice are animals too! Save the tapeworms!

  20. D.A. Ridgely | July 3, 2007, 3:09pm | #

    That chiken link pretty awesome.

    My fave is the Yukio Mishima one, which is pretty obscure but still on the money…

    Why did the chicken cross the road?

    Mishima: The dark courage of the
    chicken was as beautiful as drops of dew upon jade at midnight, struck by a partial moon, its light filtered through clouds. One of the
    deeply aroused roosters could stand the intensity of the moment no more and bit off the head of the beautiful, courageous chicken-hero, whose wine blood was deliciously drunken by the road, and he died.

  21. Eat shit and die-
    If you are not going to even engage in a quasi-serious refutation, why not just retreat into quietism?

  22. Eat shit and die,
    Well, I’m not a Jain, so no, I don’t walk around with a broom in fear of killing bugs. I fucking hate bugs. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable killing and plucking a chicken – it’s my personal preference, and I don’t want to force it on anyone else. Does that really bother you?

  23. Or is it that you resent animal rights activists and gain pleasure in disparaging their putatively noble cause by shallow name calling?

    Bingo!

    and I also think you are gay. Not in the homosexual way. In the not-cool and self-important way.

  24. Every moment you spend defending animal rights is a moment that could have been spent defending human rights.

    No, this is wrong. Justice and decency are not a zero-sum game – quite the opposite, by pushing for greater justice and decency in one field, you not only bring about your first-order results, but you make the pursuit of those ideals a habit among the people you win over, which they bring to other aspects of the their lives.

  25. *sigh*

    I give up, it is no longer worth even attempting off-color jokes. I always forget that the animal rights kids are absolutely humorless, worse than Marxists.

  26. GILMORE-
    You’ve exposed the intellectual shallowness of Reason readers. Congrats!

  27. Every moment you spend attacking people for defending animal rights is a moment you could be spending attacking people for not defending human rights.

    True, but I don’t pretend to give a shit about human rights. You are the one with the moral dilemma, not me.

  28. “Fuck chickens”
    – GILMORE

    I think there’s something on you tube showing that.

  29. I’m a chicken shit farmer from Carolina-

    But you give a shit about attacking people on blogs–some priorities you have.


  30. *sigh*

    I give up, it is no longer worth even attempting off-color jokes.

    pssst, make sure that the jokes are either funny or self evident, lest your tone and facial expression get lost in the intertubes, and we are left with naked text wondering wtf is up with that comment.

  31. rickm, you can stop now, your first comment was sensible and sufficient, the rest really havent helped your cause one bit

  32. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable killing and plucking a chicken – it’s my personal preference, and I don’t want to force it on anyone else. Does that really bother you?

    Heck no, it doesn’t bother me. Yours is the only reasonable position.

  33. no, please let him keep going. I’m enjoying it. 🙂

  34. I have no moral or intellectual qualm about wringing, killing, and plucking chickens; I just don’t like to do it myself cause it’s very messy – just as I prefer to let someone else clean the fish or slaughter the cows I eat. Plus I live in a suburban neighborhood where livestock slaughtering probably violates all sorts of deed restrictions.

    But I am only one generation removed from people who did personally raise and kill all the animals they ate, and I eat animal flesh with no guilt. If I lived on a farm, I could kill the animals myself.

    I think that industrial farms where poultry live out their lives indoors, packed in tightly with millions of other chickens in appalling conditions, are bad for humans as well as for animals. As noted, such factories are very dangerous from a health standpoint.

    But Timothy is right. Animal rights activists make Marxists look relaxed and cheerful. (And Marxists make Southern Baptists look witty.)

  35. Ah, come on, Timothy, don’t chicken out now!

  36. Round and round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows.

  37. You’ve exposed the intellectual shallowness of Reason readers. Congrats!

    Why would you lump all Reason readers together after a negative experience with one of them?

  38. I think there’s something on you tube showing that

    Not exactly chickens, but…lamb, anyone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsj2LmBCpuQ

  39. Not exactly chickens, but…lamb, anyone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsj2LmBCpuQ

    Without actually clicking on the link, Im assuming one of the actors is Scottish and its not the lamb.

  40. Ah, come on, Timothy, don’t chicken out now!

    If you try harder, Timothy, I think you can pullet off.

  41. oh shit.

    You mean “poulet” off? Very nice.

  42. Hmm, prolly shoulda been “eggs-actly.” Sorry about the fowl up.

  43. We shouldn’t let a poultry few spelling errors and typos discourage us.

  44. Mr. Eat Shit,
    Good deal. I thought you were one of those “What? Ya don’t eat MEAT! What a pussy you must be!” dudes. I would have no qualms killing and eating one of them.

    Ok, maybe I would.

  45. I guess what I don’t get is why it is automatically foolish or (as this article would have it) an attack on western civilization to make sure we don’t treat animals in the most painful, tortuous way possible.

    Also, that’s a terribly argued article. For example:

    Never mind that people’s primary responsibility might be to feed their family as economically as possible.

    You know what’s real cheap? Homeless people. Stringy, though.

  46. Animal Rights wackos are not content to stop the “systematic murder” of chickens.They don’t even want one to die in a fair fight!

  47. Best.

    SIV comment.

    Ever.

  48. simple Libertarian position: doesn’t really matter whether it’s wrong to eat animals. If most of the population had a problem with it, there would not be such a huge market for it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it/eat it, and you won’t be supporting the industry. Why would you want to take away the rights of people who don’t feel the same way you do?

  49. Yes, Siv no sentient beings killing other sentient beings- what a concept!

    Katherine- Enough already. We already know that you don’t give a shit about the suffering inflicted on other living beings by the unthinking food choices made by most of us. Just be thankful you won’t be on the receiving end of such treatment.

  50. Stevo,

    You’ll rooster the day you crowsed me!

  51. Why does Hit n Run suck so much these days?

  52. Because Virginia Postrel isn’t the editor

    *ducks*

  53. Actually, I’d like to explore this whole “blood spurting pistol” business. I mean, are just talking Super-soakers here or is there some way to load the chicken first? What sort of velocity and range? Should we prohibit carrying a concealed chicken, just in case … for the children?

  54. I always forget that the animal rights kids are absolutely humorless, worse than Marxists.

    Hey, your sense of humor is nothing to crow about.

  55. And I consider myself one of the “animal rights kids.” Just because I’m not running around like a superhero with a capon doesn’t mean I don’t care.

  56. Ellie: Point taken. Although I bet you’d look awesome sweet in a cape.

  57. Just be thankful you won’t be on the receiving end of such treatment.

    I like to match this up with Randolph Carter’s mention of Jainism.

    If you truly have faith in reincarnation, suffering is a non-issue since you will be reborn anyway.

    Or as Apu said “Ha ha! You can’t kill a Hindu! (Help me, Jesus!)”

  58. Pope,
    unthinking food choices

    WTF? Excluding “sleep eating” most give a lot of thought and consideration to what they eat.
    Pepperoni vs. Italian Sausage
    Hamburger vs chicken sandwich
    Veal vs. pasta
    Steak vs. Fish

  59. If we could just fill this thread with chicken puns, that would be quite a coop.

  60. Stevo,

    You don’t know what the cluck you are talking about.

  61. Stevo,

    I’m down with that.

  62. I need to keep abreast of others posting.

  63. Do you think we could win a pullet-surprise?

  64. I have tried to wing it on this thread, but I fear I’ve really beaked a few people.

  65. Randolph = PWN’D!

    Maybe you should keep abreast of… aw, crap.

  66. Some people tried to goose up the thread a bit, but the extremists always feel like they’re being tarred and feathered.

  67. I’d like to stick my beak in and peck away at these arguments. But I’d rather talk rotisserie baseball.

  68. Great, kids! Don’t get cocky!

  69. Comb your memories for more puns!

  70. Animal Rights arguments aren’t worth scratch.

  71. Of course, my last comment was also a reference from Star Wars. A quote from Hen Solo.

  72. Time to flip the bird to this thread.

  73. Thigh …

  74. Really? I thought it was from “Robin Hood: Men in Thighs.”

  75. Duck Eggs > Chicken Eggs. Best damn scrambled eggs you’ll ever have.

  76. And ducks are easier to beat up.

  77. Are their eggs easier to quack open?

  78. If we could just fill this thread with chicken puns, that would be quite a coop.

    We might be running out of chicken puns, but we could move on to other poultry. That would be the nest best thing.

  79. You had to take it too far, didn’t you Ridgely…

    The pun police will be here any minute.

  80. We seem to have driven the animal rights crowd away. I guess the yoke’s on them.

  81. Now I feel sort of bad about being such a turkey earlier, but I guess I’ll just have to get myself back into the pecking order.

  82. Ellie,

    Or quotes:

    “I’m just a simple country HyperChicken from a backwards asteroid…”

  83. Speaking of eggs, in England you usually get two eggs for breakfast.
    Of course, in France one egg is un oeuf.

  84. The pun police will be here any minute.

    I hope they don’t drake him over the coals during questioning.

  85. Don’t worry Ellie, I’ve suffered worse grillings.

  86. D.A., so now you have the routine down pate?

  87. (Hmmm.. I wonder if Ellie just goosed me.)

  88. I remember the first time I had sex with a chicken. She gave me a come hither look from across barnyard even a capon couldn’t ignore. She drew a line in the feed with her delicate claw and displayed her cochlea, swollen and red with desire. I ran inside to get a box of chocolate-covered cracked corn I’ve been saving for just this day. I approached her shyly, not wanting to ruin the moment, but she was ready. Her head nodded, yes, yes, yes. We retired to the barn. I touched [SECTION DELETED] finished. I lit a cigarette for us to share and I held her in my arms until she pooped on my chest.

  89. Between the bad jokes and the unusual amount of typos, I can only conclude that everyone has already started drinking in preparation for tomorrow 🙂

  90. Reinmoose,

    Um, I’ll have you know I’m ALWAYS drunk at work. How dare you presume [SNORE]

    Have a Happy 4th, everybody. I love you all more than any chicken I’ve ever fucked.

  91. The humor here is strictly bantam-weight.

  92. One hen to another: All roosters are pigs.

    Well, maybe just this once, it was funnier in German.

  93. Is People for Eating Tasty Animals (PETA) still around? I think I need to join.

    Chickens are for eating! Yumm!

  94. Sometimes to make a point you have to break a few eggs.

  95. Shell we say this egg sells at impeckable chickenery?

  96. Animal torture sucks.

  97. I’m coming in late here, and really hate to break the spell.
    The above should be preserved somewhere in a cyberspace cornerstone.
    I was just going to say, that, back in my day in Tennessee, wringing a chicken’s neck was the way it was done. Me own meek and kindly grandma would slowly feed out the kernels of corn to bring one of her little flock into wringing distance.
    When I got its head to play with, I was always curious why I couldn’t see light from the neck end into the beak end. But, at least I could lift and shut the eyelids.
    Has anyone read the James Thurber short story about the sprint of the headless chicken through downtown Columbus, OH?

  98. dead weight,

    I do not advise having oral sex with a chicken.

  99. Holy crap, I came back to this thread late. That’s funny stuff!

    And joe, yes, I do know what I false dilemma fallacy is. Instead of being a sneering jackass, try actually reading what I wrote.

  100. I’d like to explore this whole “blood spurting pistol” business. I mean, are just talking Super-soakers here or is there some way to load the chicken first? What sort of velocity and range? Should we prohibit carrying a concealed chicken, just in case … for the children?

    It depends on whose ox is gored.

  101. How to Convert a Chicken Into a Blood-Spurting Pistol in One Easy Step

    Hands down best H&R Headline EVER.

  102. You guys are running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

  103. How to Convert a Chicken

    Haven’t we discussed Pascal’s Wager enough here?

  104. And of course, Stevo Darkly wins teh internets…

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