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The Dome Garden > News > Kill Chicken II

Kill Chicken II

The story continues a few months later.

A 50-60 year old man comes up to the lodge as we’re about to feed the chickens.

“Could I do that?” he asks. “Of course” I say, handing him the bowl of feed.  Ten minutes later he hasn’t returned so I take a gentle stroll along the path to see where he’s gone.  And there he is, sitting on the ground, sobbing his heart out.

“You OK?” I venture.

“I’m fine” he says.  “They’re lovely aren’t they?  The chickens.”

“Well, yes” I agree, “But why are you so upset?”

“I used to work with chickens. Must have been for about 12 years, I guess.  Then I moved jobs.”

“Oh, really, what did you do?”

“I worked for Bernard Mathews turning chickens into pies.  Hundreds of thousands of them.  Week after week just taking them off a production line and killing them.  Might have been a million for all I know.  And you know what?  I never, ever, picked one up and looked it in the eye.  I never fed them or cared for them and I never put them down unless they were dead.  Not even once. It just never occurred to me what they might really be like.  And sitting here feeding them now I realised how lovely they are – and clever too.”  We pause for him to catch his breath again.

“I’m going to buy some when I get home and try and make up for it all.”

There’s another silence, so I gave him a little hug.

He cheers up.

What else could I do?

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