Birds are respected, taste good too

Posted on June 4, 1999

One man's meal has become another man's menace.

Go visit Key West, Fla., and see the melees on the streets. The town is not infested with teen-aged gangs causing trouble. Instead, chickens decorate the roads like I-74 construction cones.

The Associated Press reported the problem, according to one local, is that the chickens "are meaner than anything." The local law allows no chicken harassment. Some residents throw ice cubes at the birds because the cubes melt, unlike rocks or javelins.

Certain animals are revered in many places. India, for instance, loves cows. Either every person who visits India runs into a cow, or cows actually run the country. Supposedly, old cows have their own nursing homes in India. Bovines can only live about 25 years, so after they graduate from college, it's all downhill.

Many ancient civilizations worshipped animals, ranging from buffaloes to cats. Worshipping might not be the right word, though, since Native Americans still had plenty of uses for their revered buffalo. They loved to pretend the animals became angels, hence the appetizer buffalo wings.

Animals, like game show hosts, are our friends. They should be respected. That doesn't mean you must pick one over your best buddy in a kickball game. But there's no reason to torment stray animals, unless they are hogging the TV remote.

There is a place to go see a variety of animals in their natural habitats. It's called an outlet mall. All species flock for the best sales and subscribe to the infallible notion of survival of the fittest. Oh yeah, you could visit the zoo, too. That's a cool place.

Now eating, that's a different story. All people have their preferences. Some people like meat, some don't. Some like Transformers, some like Go-bots. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Just as long as you don't go around eating other people's food, things should be fine.

But if there were a law against eating certain foods, some people would not survive. Chicken is water to some earth inhabitants, although most carnivores spare themselves from showering or washing clothes in broth.

Key West residents are not particularly happy with the dilemma, but they are not willing to take steps to correct it. They do, at times, try to relocate the birds to other neighborhoods. It doesn't appear anyone really raises the birds. Maybe an entrepreneur will come along and turn the city into Col. Sanders Heaven.

When life hands you chicken, make chicken salad. Or, if your fond of the bird, have the chicken prepare a nice vegetarian meal.