If you know someone who is boycotting BP, yet still buying chicken nuggets, please urge them to show mercy for all birds.
Ever since the BP oil rig explosion there has been an outpouring of concern for pelicans, ducks, and other birds in the Gulf. People from coast to coast are taking steps to help oil-covered birds; gathering fur and hair for Matter of Trust, donating to the International Bird Rescue Research Center and other rescue groups, volunteering to monitor bird populations, urging the Attorneys General to charge BP with cruelty to animals, and more. Everyone is mindful of the suffering in the Gulf and it's encouraging how the public has come together to save seabirds and other wildlife. I hope people will eventually extend the same compassion to chickens and other birds killed for food.
When it comes to feeling pain and suffering, birds are birds. Pelicans, ducks, seagulls, chickens, and turkeys are all made of flesh, bone, and blood. They all value their lives and grieve for lost loved ones.
If you know someone who is boycotting BP, yet still buying chicken nuggets, please urge them to show mercy for all birds. We may not see disturbing photos of chickens and turkeys in factory farms and slaughterhouse on the news each night, but these birds are suffering nonetheless.
Chickens and turkeys aren't even covered under the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act. Before their flesh is cooked in oil, baked, broiled, or grilled, these birds are confined to overcrowded, waste-filled sheds that stink of ammonia fumes. Their bones are often broken when they are flung into transport crates for slaughter, and, at the slaughterhouse, they're often scalded alive in the tanks of water used for feather removal.
It's understandable that people are thinking more about pelicans and other birds at the moment--they urgently need our help. But, fortunately, it doesn't take much effort to help chickens and turkeys, too. Simply choosing vegan alternatives to meat and eggs is the best way to help birds raised for food. You can also help by joining United Poultry Concerns (UPC), an organization that promotes the respectful treatment of domestic fowl, and by sponsoring a bird at the UPC sanctuary.
Compassion knows no boundaries—please encourage everyone you know to show compassion for all birds—wild and domestic.
Heather Moore is a freelance writer and a senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She's been vegan for 17 years and believes that eating a plant-based diet is the best way to stay healthy, help animals, and save the environment.