Chick-fil-A: The Awful Truth | Mickey Z.
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 6, 2012
"If you don't want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed, or tortured then you shouldn't condone such behavior towards anyone, be they human or not." --Moby
By now, you've surely heard that Dan T. Cathy, president of an Atlanta-based fast food chain called Chick-fil-A, has publically declared his opposition to marriage equality.
In just a few sentences, the Georgia-born Cathy reinforces a plantation's worth of negative Southern stereotypes: "We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives … As it relates to society in general, I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’”
Mic Check: Homosexuality may not be a lifestyle choice, but homophobia sure is.
While some folks have scoffed at the mere idea of a fast food joint taking a stance on a social issue, such mockery ignores the fact that Dan T. Cathy (estimated net worth of $1.2 billion) and Chick-fil-A have donated roughly $5 million to organizations like the Family Research Council, which "champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society" and works to enforce the belief that "marriage is a union of one man and one woman."
Translation: Money spent at Chick-fil-A funds such convictions and supports the inevitable discrimination and violence these convictions trigger.
Obviously, this situation needs to be addressed and the positive offshoot of Cathy's public comments has been the wider exposure of connections that typically remain hidden. So, since this angle is already being discussed all across the interwebs, I'd like to instead focus on the urgent connections not being made during the current media frenzy.
I'm talking about the global reality that establishments like Chick-fil-A -- by definition -- have taken a loud and undeniable stance on topics like abuse, torture, climate change, deforestation, water pollution, habitat loss, species extinction, workplace injustice, epidemics of preventable diseases, corporate welfare, overfishing, poverty, starvation, and ecocide.
On each of these issues, Chick-fil-A offers nothing but complete support. Dan T. Cathy's fortune has been built on a foundation of unspeakable abuse: abuse of animals, abuse of workers in the animal industry, abuse of those who get sick from eating animals, abuse of taxpayers who fund all this, and abuse of the entire ecosystem.
Mic Check: If Dan T. Cathy apologized for his marriage comments, it wouldn't do anything to address any of this 24/7 earth-killing abuse.
Mic Check: If Dan T. Cathy married a man on national TV, it wouldn't do a damn thing to help the 23 million chickens killed in the U.S. for food (sic) every single day.
That's 269 dead chickens per second -- brutally slaughtered after a short, nightmarish life imposed upon them by a taxpayer subsidized industry that is systematically destroying our landbase and threatening all life on earth.
Chick-fil-A: The hidden ingredients
This is Dan T. Cathy’s self-stated mission: "To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A."
On that note...
Inside the hatchery, each chicken is confined to about 48 to 86 square inches of space and these cages are piled tier upon tier. Due to the severe crowding, layer hens are kept in semi-darkness. The stressed birds are de-beaked using hot irons (without anesthetics) to prevent them from pecking each other to death. The wire cages rub off their feathers and the mesh floor cripples their feet. Twenty percent of layer hens die of stress or disease.
“Today’s chickens are allowed no expression of their natural urges,” writes John Robbins, in Diet for a New America. “They cannot walk around, scratch the ground, build a nest, or even stretch their wings. Every instinct is frustrated.”
Ninety percent of all commercially sold eggs come from chickens raised on factory farms and 90 percent of those birds are infected with chicken cancer (leukosis). Hens that survive see their egg production wane within two years and are promptly slaughtered.
Once at the slaughterhouse, as PETA details, chickens "are dumped from their crates and hung upside down in shackles, further injuring their legs, which are already tender and often broken. Their throats are cut open by machines, and they are immersed in scalding-hot water for feather removal. They are often conscious throughout the entire process. Because hens’ bones are so brittle from egg production that the electric current would cause them to shatter, hens often are not even stunned before their throats are cut."
For those buying the "free range" myth, the good folks at Compassion Over Killing explain: "The popular myth that 'free-range' egg-laying hens enjoy fresh grass, bask in the sunlight, scratch the earth, sit on their nests, and engage in other natural habits is often just that: a myth. In many commercial 'free-range egg farms, hens are crowded inside windowless sheds with little more than a single, narrow exit leading to an enclosure, too small to accommodate all of the birds at once. Both battery cage and 'free-range' egg hatcheries kill all male chicks shortly after birth."
"Around the back is a large dumpster. Lorri and I climb up to look inside. She is looking for live baby chicks. The male baby chicks are discarded as soon as they are hatched. They have no use, no value, since they cannot lay eggs. And it would cost too much to euthanize them. So they are tossed into the dumpster alive. But it is too late for us to rescue any chicks -- the sun is just too hot. On the top layer of corpses, flies are eating the chicks’ eyes. Lorri keeps digging under the corpses. There are layers upon layers, some chicks still half in the shells, having broken through with their beaks. I examine a chick, so perfect with its soft yellow down and tiny wings. The chicks are thrown in with other garbage: empty Coke cans, cigarette packs, computer printouts, samples of our throwaway society. Gene Bauston, cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, told me that sometimes the baby chicks are ground up alive and thrown on the fields as fertilizer. Walking along a plowed field, you can sometimes find a chick, still alive, with no legs or wings."
This is but a minuscule sampling of the immeasurable brutality visited upon chickens and if you choose to eat at Chick-fil-A, you are voting with your dollars to support it. You are also voluntarily damaging your own health.
The average American -- in his/her lifetime -- will consume 900 chickens. Coming along in the deal: cholesterol, saturated fats, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, hormones, arsenic (from chicken feed), drug-resistant bacteria, and the frighteningly bad karma of paying someone to torture and kill a beautiful, sentient being so you can eat it. Factor all this (and more) into the equation and you can begin comprehending why we are in the midst of a self-induced health holocaust.
Right about now, someone usually chimes in with something like this: "Yeah, yeah, I know all about that stuff but I'm free to make up my own mind. You eat what you want and I'll eat what I want and we'll stay out of each other's business."
The global animal food (sic) industry is the number one source of human-created greenhouse gases so, um... you better believe that people making choices that speed up climate change is my fuckin’ business.
Forests without trees, oceans without fish, species disappearing at the rate of nearly 200 per day -- all of it, our business.
So yeah, of course you should be free to make up your own mind. All I'm suggesting is that you first choose to free your mind from decades of corporate conditioning.
It's not nearly enough to rise above the latest man-made conflicts and/or differences and proudly declare oneself a "humanist." In the name of holistic justice and planetary rebellion, we must go deeper to identify as earthlings and stand -- fists raised -- in solidarity with all of our fellow earthlings.
Do Chick-fil-A and its president need to be called on their homophobia? Absolutely... but obviously, this action is not nearly enough. Not even close.
This isn't about having an activist scorecard or priority list. It's about thinking holistically. It's about avoiding denial. It's about preserving the future.
Marriage equality is undeniably important so if you wanna protest against Chick-fil-A, let's do it -- but without the single-issue approach.
Mic Check: All of our grievances are connected.
#Occupy for all species
As I've said over and over, the correlation between animal rights and the Occupy movement is clear. The corporate powers-that-be manipulate and twist our minds in the name of profit and they're damn sure not gonna let animal abuse (or homophobia) get in their avaricious way.
The system being challenged by OWS is built, in a major way, on the exploitation of non-human animals and the eco-system. It's all connected within a culture constructed on the premise of unlimited growth and it must all remain connected within a movement aiming for holistic justice.
If you're already working to dismantle corporate power, if you're already working to expand freedoms, and you're already working to create a safer, more sane culture, you already have plenty in common with animal rights activists.
Why not take things even further and recognize that the mighty 99% also includes non-human animals -- and the entire ecosystem itself?
Good first step: Boycott Chick-fil-A…in the name of justice for all species.
Way better first step: Go vegan.
If you agree that all of our grievances are connected, our options are self-evident: Choose process over purity. Choose solidarity over single issues. Choose love over fear.
#Occupy for all forms of justice and for all species...
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