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I know this works, like I know you can also massage the breastbone for the same effect, because I had chickens as pets when I was little. My friends and I made them harnesses out of flannel and walked them on leashes to the park. We painted their toes, and pretended they were our children. We kept them for eggs, a flock of four, then a flock of six, then four again, then three when I left for college, and now my mother has none.

It would lay eggs, peck in the garden, bathe in dirt, sit in the sun. Without a name, is this supposed to feel more impersonal? We name our pets, our children, even sometimes objects that belong to us, like cars or skateboards or stuffed animals. When her body goes limp with comfort, I stretch out her neck. I tap the knife against it, tap, tap, tap, and accidentally slice a single feather. It slides loose and floats to the ground. I lean forward, jutting my knees toward the blood bowl. Quick, I slice her throat. Blood gushes into the bowl, warm on my hands.

I drop the knife and hold her body. She kicks one leg slowly. But not so much. She moves less than I expected. This is nothing like a chicken running with its head cut off.

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This is nothing like death throes or dry heaves. I can see the blood pumping out of the arteries in her neck. She moves for another five seconds then stops. This is also not like buying chicken, cleaned and plastic wrapped, from a store. And it is also nothing like I thought it would be. At the plucking station, I hold the chicken by her feet and dunk the body into the hot water. I try to remember what Cody said—it was either three dunks for twenty seconds with five-second intervals or five dunks for twenty seconds with three-second intervals.

Steven Raichlen Project Smoke - Buccaneer Chicken

I dunk her four times then try to pull the feathers; they come off easy. I hang the chicken, steaming and dripping, and remove the rest of the feathers. She smells grassy and warm. Even the large wing feathers come out without any trouble. The skin does not tear.


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Once the feathers are gone, I turn on the propane blowtorch and singe the small hairs from the bird. I wipe her clean with a rag from my back pocket. I do not want to pop the gall bladder. I do not want to puncture the stomach. I feel I should avoid the colon. I start with the feet, cutting them off at the knee joint, then drop them into the waste bucket. Corn and seed squeeze out onto the cutting board, like yellow textured toothpaste.

I rinse it off with hot water from the kettle. After that, I cut a little lower toward the breast meat and eventually remove the organ, then slice off the neck.

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The crop goes into the waste bucket, the neck into the dog-soup pot. It takes me forty-five minutes to clean the bird. I find that I cannot just scoop out the organs from the back, that I cannot just pull and everything comes out, and that this is not in any way self-explanatory. I cut through the rib cage on one side of the breastbone, then the other, and lift out the sternum.

From this vantage I can pry the abdominal cavity apart with both hands. The intestines come loose, ropy and pale. I drop the liver into the pot for Tashi. I press the gall bladder between my fingers then toss it into the waste bucket. I try to scrape out the lungs with a spoon, then with my fingers. I remove the gizzard, bisect it, and use my fingers to wipe out all the rocks and stones the chicken used to digest her food.

The meat, the skin, and the bones I set aside for my soup. I say the words realizing, as they fall smooth and easy from my mouth, that they are true. This flesh belongs to me now. I boil the carcass with the vegetables for two hours straight then stand above the steaming stock, peeling hot chicken meat from the bones and eating bits of it with my greasy and grateful fingers.

After physiological needs, like air and food, humans require safety, then love and belonging, then esteem respect for and by others, self-respect, confidence, achievement , and, lastly, self-actualization creativity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, morality. In the words of E. Schumacher, economist and author of Small Is Beautiful: I want to eat intelligible food and feel satiated, not consume blindly and feel empty.

By involving myself in the production process, I see the extent of my needs and their effects on others: Am I using too much water? Is it morally correct to eat animals? How much waste am I generating?


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  • I appreciate the warmth from my woodstove more than the hot air that comes blasting out of my wall-heater because pushing a button is too damn easy. It is thick and steamy. Small globules of oil and yellow fat bob to the surface. It is somehow surprising that chicken meat that comes in plastic and Styrofoam looks about the same as chicken meat that comes to your house in a cat carrier and poops in your Shasta daisies.

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    I light a few candles, serve up the soup, and we settle down to eat. Tashi noses around our feet, then resigns herself to not getting table scraps and lies down on the rug. As someone who runs an organizations that rescues and advocates on behalf of chickens and other farmed animals in desperate situations and who has come to know them as loving, lifelong companions, I found your piece called The Chicken Project highly offensive and pedestrian, fueling the status quo ignorance about chickens which is based on the crass and predictable denigration of their identity as commodities not animals.

    We kill close to baby 6-week-old chickens every second in the U. Your article rubs salt in the wounds of these birds who already suffer immensely. No, this is a false dilemma. This article is based on one of the most common logical fallacies of all time: No, there is an easy way out of this false dilemma. No one is twisting our arm to force animals to suffer for our tastebuds. This is not a piece that raises consciousness about animals or food.


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    • It mocks any serious moral consideration for animals by simply asserting the supremacy of our taste buds. Slavery and cruelty come in all shapes and sizes. How tragic the animals were taken into slavery long before we adopted the same behaviors that created human slavery. How tragic the ugliness in humanity reins in our world when the opposite could manifest if we stopped carving the hearts out of children who have an innate kinship with all beings.

      Thanks to carnism, the US economy from pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cancer treatments, is strong. Your demeaning of sentient birds stunts your moral growth and keeps our nation in spiritual and ethical stasis. Accepting violence to animals is normalized pathology. Yep, that is the reflection in the American mirror and anywhere animals are violated. Just like the former coworkers who persuaded her to abandon her values, this young author seems determined to persuade us that animals belong to us and that killing them is no big deal.

      If we are genuinely interested in knowing where our food comes from or in being involved in growing and preparing it, then we need also to be morally aware of the difference between food and sentient beings with intrinsic worth.

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      There is a moral chasm between a plant and a sentient being: Unfortunately, I find these journeys of self discovery of very limited merit. They do nothing to open our eyes to the moral consideration at the heart of the matter. It is simply wrong to harm any being unnecessarily. We have absolutely no need to eat animals and animal products. The commenters above make me wonder if they have seen any of the recent science on plants. In the millennium year 2.

      At this moment the 17th hybrid species, the Mechelse Styrian, is a fact. Eighteen countries have been included in the CCP. The chicken, its egg and cage, are powerful symbols that allow Vanmechelen to make links between scientific, political, philosophical and ethical issues. The intrinsic philosophical system he thus developed are meant to be the subject of debates, discussions and lectures. To secure the future of the project, the genetic material of all the Mechelse hybrids is stored. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

      Learn how and when to remove these template messages. The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. What the project needs now is to have more seminars that include different sectors, for example the government and entrepreneurship. This would improve their knowledge and will give them better skills, which will increase the projects outcome. The group it self has started three groups inside the project. Each group has six members and they are there to help each other and develop the project. This site uses cookies.

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