“The critic educates the public. The artist educates the critic”
(Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900))
They declare that chickens, after thousands of years of domestication, now finally enjoy roosting in branches.
I live in a filthy cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. They wish I were dead: A dead battery chicken. “Useless alive”, They say, and.. I don’t know, soon perhaps I will be dead. Blood pressure and diabetes have an impact on chickens too.
I am a battery chicken. They say “a mentally conflicted chicken”. I say “a battery chicken with a conscience”.
Even my discourse is more articulate than theirs can ever be….
“…. Despite twenty-two years of harsh domestication, we battery chickens are in actual fact still the wild fowl of our ancestry, with the same passions for openness, free will, candor, and lack of restrictions suited to the tropical surroundings they originated in. June is International Respect for Wild Fowl Month. Let the earth know how beautiful and essential we battery chickens truly can be..”
“…. Release the battery chickens from their cages”
“…. Stop debeaking chickens”
“…. Yes chickens are no longer starving, but they still suffer”
Thought Reform: The Coercive Art of Passive Persuasion
They don’t like my intense mode of individualism, which, unimaginatively, They perceive as seeking to incite the masses of outwardly blissful chickens. “The illusion of a unique temperament is unbecoming of a chicken”, They ridicule, “too outspoken”.
That’s why They grabbed me and my little brothers: Thrown into trash bags: Welcome to the machine.
They want to strike off my beak with a hot iron.
They scowl they are resolute in their determination to extract my compliance. Oh, we battery chickens know all too well the wide variety of intimidating methods They employ orchestrating self-indicting and self-reproaching confessions of wrong-doing:
Sleep deprivation and semi starvation. I am forced to stand night and day for very long periods in conditions of bitter cold on a freezing floor that eventually deadens my feet. The cage walls continually bruise the elbows of my wings, forming swelling that never seems to mend. In this trash bag, the air is so full of the choking stench of decay my lungs hurt and my eyes are on fire.
Reducing my mental and physical ability to resist, They want me spent, broken, no fuel to carry on, reduced back to simple ‘battery chicken level’, a nervous gibbering wreck.
Now wholly reliant on my interrogator, my declaration of guilt is merely a feeling of liberation over the endless onslaught. Next comes their very consistent and very public:
“Because of this chicken’s good attitude in confessing his crimes….”.
Even so, my mind remains observant and my body is aware of a natural desire so strong: The freedom to socialise, even in a farmyard, with my like-minded flock, practicing my critical spirit, expressing my nature, looking at the stars.
I am not a spent chicken. I want to be richly feathered.
Say I am wonderful.
Don’t let me be misunderstood.