A. Barton Hinkle on Falling Animal Parts


There are less than three weeks to go before the election, writes A. Barton Hinkle, yet not once have the candidates brought up one of the gravest threats facing the nation: falling chicken parts.

A few days ago Cassie Bernard was on a horseback ride in Accomac, on Virginia's Eastern Shore, when she was struck on the head by a foot-long piece of raw chicken that fell from the sky. How could this happen? Explanations vary. An investigation also has been launched. Meanwhile, the authorities have arrived at some preliminary conclusions. Drawing on years of expertise – backed by two centuries of scientific progress and the collective wisdom of a regulatory agency with a $150-million budget – the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Milton Johnston feels confident in declaring: "We can't have pieces of chicken falling out of the sky."