Recently I was browsing the internet with the interest of learning more about my feathery friends that live outside. No not the eagles that live at our local dump or the turkey buzzards that can cost you 1,500$ and six months in jail if you kill them. I’m talking about my pride and joy, my feathery gang of ladies, my chickens. Last summer my family and I took on the task getting 10 Americana easter egger chickens. (Mostly known as easter eggers) These chicks lived inside with us until my father had finished creating their chicken palace and I can say that I became very attached to them. We lost one chick early on and three to some local hunting dogs that broke into our coop. (rest in peace Princess, Speedy, and Lucy) Fortunately, we still have 6 lovely ladies in our current flock, Big Red, Ethel, Lady, Andrew, Big Bird, and Flossie.
Now, you may be wondering why I’ve decided to bring up my backyard gang of chickens, and the reason is because of an article and billboard that I recently came across produced by PETA. Yes PETA, you know the radical group that claims drinking a cow’s milk makes people autistic, that PETA. A couple of years ago they made a campaign saying that you can’t call yourself a feminist if you eat eggs. My reaction to hearing this was in a way outrage. PETA doesn’t know anything about me, or my chickens and they think they can just come out and say that I’m not a “real feminist” because I eat chicken eggs. I know that the point of the campaign was just to make a radical statement and to get people looking at the treatment of commercially used chickens, but something about it set me off. What about all the people who love and care about their flocks? Does PETA think they are just abusing the reproductive cycle of their chickens? Also, are we really devaluing all the work that has been done by feminist just to make a radical point. Why didn’t PETA just say that maybe your not the best feminist if you condone and support the commercial abuse of chickens? To be fair it doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it and probably wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much attention.
Similarly, Natalie Portman addressed her own feelings about feminism and veganism around the same time, two things that she is very passionate about. In her address to 16,000 students at an activism event she said that “Dairy and eggs don’t just come from cows and chickens, they come from female cows and female chickens, We’re exploiting female bodies and abusing the magic of female animals to create eggs and milk.” Now I don’t think Natalie Portman was trying to call me or anyone else out on being a bad feminist for raising chickens, but I don’t think any of my ladies would say that I’m abusing the magic of their reproductive cycles. In fact, I’d like to think they would rave about all of the worms I have provided for them and nod their little bird heads in aproval knowing that I have raised them to be independent feminist ladies. (If you don’t believe me… well… you’ll just have to take my work for it.) Their will be no roosters struting around my pen trying to “ruffle the feathers” of my ladies without their consent, I will have no such nonsense. Yes, we need to as a society do a better job at properly and ethically raising animals, but we also can’t claim that you aren’t an activist just because of your food choices. Some people don’t have the resources to just become vegans overnight and obstacles like food deserts make it hard for people to even have the choice to eat healthy, much less eat and be conscious of their ethical animal footprint.
Read more about Natalie Portman’s Speech here
Ultimately, I think it is safe to say that you can indeed eat eggs and be a feminist. (Just incase you were not already aware.) So, the message I would share with PETA is, as Kate Bernot from Medium would say, that they need to stay in their lane and argue for animal rights on animal-welfare grounds and not by accusing non-vegans of being bad feminist. I embrace that I’m a subpar feminist, but it’s not because of my chickens or my egg consumption.
ThAnK yOu VeRy MuCh PeTa.
Read about Kate Bernot’s opinion here
*added note* Hope everyone is surviving being quarantined through the Coronavirus outbreak. Here are some images from the farm for your viewing pleasure… (Dogs, Kittens, Chicks, Rainbows… whatever strikes your fancy) Hope they bring you some joy in a time of uncertainty.