We wouldn't serve Felix for dinner—but what do our cats have that chickens don't? Anyone who has spent time around chickens can attest to the fact that they are just as loving, intelligent, and capable of feeling pain and suffering as our feline companions. So why do we call one "friend" and the other "food"?
Chowing down on chicken flesh and other meats means certain death for smart and affectionate birds and other animals. Scientists have proved what people who run farm sanctuaries have said all along—that chickens are fast learners who have distinct personalities. Some are shy and run away when someone new comes into the yard, some are bold and gregarious, greeting each new guest with a variety of clucks and even hopping onto all available human laps.
Chickens also have complex social relationships called a "pecking order." They have 30 different vocalizations that they use to communicate contentment, fear, and alarm—they even have separate calls to distinguish between predators approaching by land and by water.
Chickens can be friendly and loyal, and they are intelligent and affectionate, just like the cats who share our homes. Yet many people who are appalled by the thought of killing and eating cats regularly consume the flesh of these smart and sensitive birds.
Some might ask, "Chickens are bred for food, so what's wrong with eating them?" But of course, in many Asian countries, the same question could be posed about cats. Basic biology tells us that being bred for a certain purpose does not change an animal's capacity to feel pain, fear, or sorrow. Animals who are bred for human consumption still suffer greatly at the hands of factory farmers and slaughterhouse workers.
Chickens on factory farms are denied everything that is natural to them—they will never be able to take dustbaths, build nests, or raise their young. They spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with thousands of other birds, and this intense crowding and confinement leads to outbreaks of disease. They are given powerful drugs to ensure that they gain weight as quickly as possible, and their unnatural size can lead to heart attacks and organ failure. Some chickens become crippled under their own weight. When they are only 6 or 7 weeks old, these chickens will be thrown into cages and sent off to slaughter.
People from some cultures eat cats, and some people eat chickens, but with a world of vegetarian foods to choose from, it's high time we left all animals off the menu. The best way to show all animals some real respect is to stop eating them. Learn how you can leave animals off your plate and adopt a healthy and humane vegetarian diet.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.