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Chickens Are More Than 'Nugget' Machines

January 27, 2002

Re "What if Someone Went Looking for Your Nuggets?," Jan. 16:

Dana Parson's recent column about the Carl's Jr. commercial is a fair, well-done article. It may seem absurd to find wrong in a commercial that is obviously intending to be humorous, not offensive, but is it really so absurd to object to the poking and prodding of an animal that in many studies has been found to be both an intelligent and sensitive creature.

Objectifying animals leads to mistreatment, just as objectifying humans does. Perhaps if chickens were not just considered "nugget" and egg-emitting machines, their horrific treatment on factory farms, as well as in commercials, could improve.

Theresa Noble

Bryn Mawr, Pa.

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Dana Parsons writes a fair column on the campaign by United Poultry Concerns to get Carl's Jr. restaurant to pull its TV ad depicting grown men searching for a live chicken's "nuggets." The idea that such an advertisement is demeaning to chickens may be laughed off by some, but it is important to realize the extent to which our treatment of animals is a result of portrayal of them in the media.

This advertisement essentially says to the public that chickens are to be thought of as mere commodities, not as living, feeling beings. Perhaps this is why the poultry industry makes so little effort to treat these animals with any compassion.

Chickens are raised in such filthy, cramped conditions that they can't even stretch their wings for their entire lives. Many are starved for up to two weeks to artificially induce the egg-laying process. In slaughterhouses, many chickens miss the killing blade and are boiled alive. Perhaps if we had more respect for chickens as a society, we would be more willing to treat them with respect as feeling, sentient beings.

Daniel Elstein

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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