Some thoughts on World Animal Day 2017
Last night I dined on a feast at my mother’s house: a banquet prepared as only a doting mother can, peppered with love, one’s favourite gastronomic delights, and, in my case, the odd cat hair. And at the centre of it all was a chicken.
Now, a chicken as a centrepiece on the dinner table is hardly surprising or new. In fact, for me, Sunday roasts were once never complete without a roast chicken bathed in gravy, nestled by baked potatoes and vegetables. Last night however, the chicken on the table was very much alive. This handsome devil, my feathered friend, even has a name: ‘Red Baron’.
Red Baron loves dinner at my mum’s house because it is a feast for him too; in a ‘win–win’ situation, he gets treats and we get treated to his quirky and endearing antics, whether it is sneaking a drink from my glass of water, tucking into a bit of spaghetti, squatting down to peer at the TV or taking a snooze on my shoulder. I cannot now imagine seeing chickens as anything other than friends. And I know I am not alone in this thought: many people, through the simple act of noticing chickens, are observing that chickens’ lives are full of possibilities, if only they are given the chance.
Red Baron came to me at only a few days old, a real miracle indeed. He was hatched at an egg production facility (you couldn’t really call it a farm) and, being male (as around 50% of the hatchlings are), he was destined to be killed. But somehow he survived, beating many apparently insurmountable odds; thus overcoming the worst in his life, he was set to enjoy the best, as he found himself on the doorstep of my house and heart and quickly chirped his way into both. My hair became his surrogate mother hen’s wing as he would happily bounce around on my shoulder each day. Going for bike rides, working on the computer and watching over me as I brushed my teeth, Red Baron’s life was rich and full. And so was mine.