Not that it’s a slow news day, but I couldn’t let this bizarre bit of news pass by, taken from a recent article in The New York Times about chickens and their loving owners in Portland, Oregon:
PORTLAND, Ore. — Hindus regard the chicken as a vessel for evil spirits. The Chinese cook them to honor village deities. But here, chickens are a symbol of urban nirvana, their coops backyard shrines to a locavore movement that has city dwellers moving ever closer to their food. And the increasingly intimate relationships have led some bird owners to make plans for their chickens’ unproductive years. Hence a budding phenomenon: urban chicken retirement. …
Karen Wolfgang of Independence Gardens, a consulting firm that helps clients build sustainable gardens, has meanwhile become an expert on end-of-life issues for chickens. She teaches a course to help urban farmers plan a wholesome end for their chickens, including referrals to retirement farms.
Oregon (where I reside) is, of course, the first of the fifty states to allow for euthanasia—of humans—with the “Death with Dignity Act” of 1994. While taking the life of a chicken is not a crime in Oregon—at least not yet—methinks it might be better to be an elderly Gallus gallus domesticus than an aging Homo sapien.
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