From ‘Cluckles’ to Chuckles: ‘Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’s’ Real-World Animated Impact

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3 min read

In the much-anticipated sequel to the animated classic, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget takes flight, entertaining audiences with its feathered protagonists and delivering a powerful message about the plight of chickens on farms. The film follows the antics of Ginger (voiced by Thandiwe Newton) and Rocky (voiced by Zachary Levi)—and the rest of the flock—as they plot to rescue their child, Molly (voiced by Bella Ramsey, PETA’s 2023 Most Beautiful Vegan), from a chicken farm and save her from ending up as nuggets in a bucket. Producer Aardman Animations shines the spotlight on the fact that chickens are wonderful, curious individuals who want to live in peace, not in pieces.

Throughout the film, the concept of a “happy ending” is a recurring theme. Ginger envisions a paradise where chickens are free, emphasizing their innate desire to live peacefully rather than ending up on a dinner plate. The movie cleverly addresses the serious issue of animal agriculture by satirically naming the chicken farm “Fun-Land Farms, where chickens find their happy endings.” This ironic twist draws attention to the discrepancies between the idealized image presented by the industry and the grim reality, revealing that there’s no such thing as a “happy ending” for chickens on farms. We’re looking at you, “humane meat.”

In the U.S. alone, a staggering 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for their flesh each year, with an additional 305 million hens used for their eggs. Newly hatched chicks are crammed into shipping crates and sent to farms within days of birth. Denied the chance to meet their parents, these chickens face a life devoid of the opportunity to engage in natural behavior: no dust baths, no sunlight, and certainly no fresh air. Most chickens spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where each has less space than a sheet of paper and where intense crowding and confinement lead to disease outbreaks.

The film breaks stereotypes by showcasing chickens as clever, resourceful beings. The protagonists, particularly Ginger and Molly, challenge preconceived notions about chickens, portraying them as smart, social animals with complex emotions and family bonds.

While the film showcases the intelligence and social dynamics of chickens, reality amplifies these traits. In their natural surroundings, chickens form complex social hierarchies, displaying advanced intelligence comparable to mammals. They use dozens of types of vocalizations, such as ones that distinguish between threats that are approaching by land and those that are approaching over water, and a mother hen begins to teach these calls to her chicks before they even hatch. She clucks softly to them while sitting on the eggs, and they chirp back to her and to each other from inside their shells.

Crack Open Compassion for Chickens

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget not only entertains but also serves as a catalyst for awareness and change. Beyond its animated charm, it calls on us to consider the real-world implications of our choices and advocates for a future in which chickens are celebrated, not commodified.

So grab your favorite vegan nuggets and enjoy the remarkable adventures of your favorite chicken friends.

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