Not all chickens are the same

So how free is free?
This debate came about while I was at the grocery store. The Little Black Dress calls to add yet another 13 things to my already bulging list. Apparently, it is imperative we get “cage free large brown eggs.”
As an aside, yes, I go to the grocery store. And yes, I actually bring home things we can eat. I’m one of those silly people who makes a list, gets what’s on the list, pays and gets out. I do not dawdle and we actually have something for dinner.
Others in our family, who shall remain nameless, see the grocery store as an experience, one to be savored. A list is simply that, nice words on a page that give one a sense of a starting place. And even though the trunk will be overloaded with stuff, there is always the question as to whether we will have anything to eat. Not that I’m pointing any fingers.
But I digress.
So I look at the price tag of these prized “cage free brown eggs” and basically think “you’ve got to be kidding.” And being the inquisitive journalist that I am, I did a little research.

According to some wonderful details provided by the company that sells said eggs, these “are produced by docile hens living in comfortable barns where they are free to roam, enjoying continuous access to nests, roosting areas, and large open spaces for dust bathing and other social interaction.”

That is a direct quote from the egg carton. No, I am not kidding.

I also learn The Dress is into “free range” chickens as well. Said chickens basically roam around free on the range — hence the name — free of any man-made fertilizers or other chemicals. So you know, they’re healthier or something, eating all that free on the range stuff.

It becomes an interesting conversation at the breakfast table, where yes, we are enjoying our cage free large brown eggs and planning on have free range chicken for dinner.

I try pointing out the end result is the same - we are eating eggs and dead chickens. And I seriously doubt those “docile hens” are that docile when they come back in from their dust bath and find their future kids missing.

And the only reason I can give for the absurd prices for those free range chickens is that the workers come in early in the morning, as Andrea Bocelli is playing in the background, and gently caress the chicken as it smiles and starts to wake up. And the sweet employee quickly and painlessly puts some paralyzing Ninja move on the chicken, followed by a quick Ginsu death touch. And they have to do this with each chicken individually.

But The Dress seems to feel better knowing the docile hens are indeed docile and playing with other docile hens while taking a dust bath. And the free range chickens roam free on the range and then come in to listen to another classical symphony before turning in on their human-hair-filled pillows and comforters.

So I try again and basically point out a dead chicken is a dead chicken. And we’re eating them regardless of where they lived. They still end up dead. And, as you read from the carton above, it’s pretty much a marketing ploy. Getting nowhere, I pull out the big gun — chickens and animals don’t have souls.

Dumb Winters, dumb.

Because youngest SON of Thunder looks up in mid bite of free range egg on his fork and says, “but I thought you told me Tigger and Sparky and Beau are up in heaven playing with Mimi and Papa.”

“Um, dogs are special,” I respond (doesn’t everyone know that). “God has a special arrangement for them.”

“And what about our cats? They’re going to heaven, too, right?”

Cats. Ugh. Hmm. Dang it. “Um yes, cats, too.” And yes, I avoided the laser of death from The Dress.

“And what about Juggles and Scuttles and Chase and Taco and Anakin and Maxamillian (various gerbils and robo dwarf hamsters)?”

I am so hosed.

And the LBD is smirking, waiting to see how I’m going to get out of this one.

“Okay, look, pets are different, they all have a special place in heaven. Everyone happy now?” I say in my strongest head of the household tone.

“Can we get a pet chicken?”

I give up. We’re having steak for dinner.

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