CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - Screaming With the (Barbecue) Cannibals


By Jack Cawthon

The gory, stomach-turning pictures were there on TV for all the world to see. Captives who were unable to defend themselves were tortured, thrown violently against the wall, kicked, and stomped. This was not a scene from an Iraqi prisoner encampment, but runaway atrocities of a bunch of chicken pluckers in a Moorefield chicken plant.

Going under cover to expose the inhumane, as well as inhuman, treatment of the chickens were members of the elite anti-terrorist network, more effective than the CIA, NSA, FBI. AARP, was PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

I am a firm believer in animal rights. We have a fat dog that leads a life much better than does Bill Clinton, as our dog gets to sleep on the sofa all of the time, whereas Bill in order to maintain party harmony, must sleep with Hillary on occasion. In this case, you can't beat a dog's life.

Our cat is a delight, also. The other night while I and my bedmate were sleeping she brought a live mouse as a gift for us and deposited it on the bed, where it promptly escaped under the covers. She could have just eaten it, but she wanted to share for all the love and kindness we bestow upon her.

I haven't figured out just how one goes under cover in a chicken slaughtering plant. But somehow a hidden camera picked up pictures of workers doing some pretty weird things to the chickens, such as throwing them, stomping them, spitting tobacco juice into their mouths (I am not making this up, as PETA seems to have it on digital.) The workers claimed they were trying to avoid working overtime.

For my own choice, and perhaps somewhere in the 90th percentile of the nation's population, I wouldn't want to work regular hours in a chicken plant. It falls under the old expression, often used in the hills, of a chicken excrement situation. I used to call my job that, when I was on The Payroll, and I had far cleaner working conditions, if one ignored the always prevalent stench of dirty politics.

And I want to go on record as having nothing against chickens. Some of best friends have been chickens; in fact, the only friends I once had were chickens. As a lonely little kid on Barbecue Run, I daily played with the chickens. I named them individually, and they talked to me in a strange language which may have been a derivative of Old Gaelic.

But there was a deep darkness running within our family: we belonged to a chicken sacrificial cult. We were Methodists!

Many the times our cult leaders, called preachers, would come to Sunday dinner, in which my mom's fried chicken was the centerpiece. While they were praying over the prey, saying Grace, I have seen a hand moving ever so slowly towards the nearest drumstick. It and the "amen" were mouthed almost as one. At least, the chicken was rewarded with entering the innermost workings of Methodism.

The chicken had been brought to its resting place on the table in the most humane manner possible. My mom always used the French Revolution technique, as with one hand she held the annointed bird's head down on a block and with the other hand brought down the sharp blade of an ax. (Here I should insert the disclaimer that TV uses just before the graphic scenes of sex and violence are about to appear. Some people may find the scenes portrayed unsuitable and they are presented for a mature audience only. That always gets everyone's attention on TV, no one would consider switching channels, and I hope I have your undivided attention also.) The head rolled off the block and the flopping carcass went its headless way, spewing blood in all directions.

I was just a tiny tot at the time. For one of such a young age to witness such violence could have had a lasting effect, and may have produced more than one ax murderer, had the sadistic tendencies been dormant. However, I knew I would be rewarded as the process was not complete until mom plucked the feathers and split open the carcass. Inside would be the undeveloped eggs that were my specialty, and she fried them up just for me. I suppose PETA would have viewed me as the Jeffery Dahmer of Barbecue Run, but to my credit I never moved up to more advanced challenges.

There is no excuse for those in whose hands chickens have been trussed in trust to fleece them. I can only assume the minimum wage, the fumes of ammonia, the slippery footing, the incessant squalking, not understanding the language as I did, and having traitors in one's midst with hidden cameras, may have affected rational thinking. In this instance, I believe the workers, with a good lawyer, could claim the insanity defense with justification.

However, PETA is concerned not only with stopping the violence in a chicken plant; a spokesman declared, but eliminating all animals from our diet, sort of an Atkins without meat, I would gather.

Several millions of years ago the experiment was tried, I have read. Two branches of our human family vied for space and food. The meat eaters, us, won out while the vegans disappeared; well, not completely, it seems. Perhaps we stomped most of them out.

I have trouble visualizing an old timer, like Colonel Sanders, going door to door promoting Kentucky fired tofu. It just doesn't have the meat to it!

My wish is that PETA had joined the search for bin Laden. I am certain had his operatives destroyed a herd of Angus grazing peacefully, that he would by now have been found, drawn and quartered, and fed to the meat-eating birds and animals that feast upon the P, as in People, without a second thought of conscience. If animals are attuned to eating us, why can we not return the flavor, er, favor? Should there not be an AETH, Animals for the Ethical Treatment of Humans? It may be tough to argue this point with a hungry lion, however.

I don't know about you, but all of this talk about food has made me hungry. I sure could use some of my mom's fried chicken right about now, but I guess I'll settle for a Double Whopper and hope the cow that provided it died of natural causes. Well, with the exception of "mad cow disease." (Could mad chicken disease be a defense for the workers? Think about it!)