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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2007
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SCOTT MORRIS

Save the chickens (from hell)

Animal rights activists are trying to save chickens from hell.

Hell, as you may have suspected, is in South Carolina.

More specifically, it’s on a chicken farm operated by monks, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA claims the monks of Mepkin Abbey were operating some kind of egg-laying sweatshop. It says thousands of poor hens were crammed into small cages and periodically starved.

While starving certainly sounds unpleasant, a “brother” who appeared on a secretly taped PETA video compared it to fasting.

Fasting means to abstain from food, often in observance of a holy day. This, of course, is highly irregular behavior for a chicken.

While fasting can serve as an impetus for a deep spiritual experience, it apparently has the added benefit of causing hens to lay more eggs.

But the abbey chickens were allegedly forced to observe this religious practice rather than participating of their own free will.

While this may cross some ethical line in the land of religious freedom, it doesn’t actually kill the chicken. And you know the ancient Chinese proverb: “That which does not kill the chicken, makes the chicken stronger.”

The alleged sins of these monks pall in comparison to certain other religious groups in the South, who are said to actually roll the chickens in batter and fry them — all without the birds’ permission.

It’s only a matter of time before PETA tries to videotape this Wednesday-night practice of forced chicken sacrifice.

I could speak more on this matter, but my membership in a secret fried-chicken sect requires a vow of silence. I can add, however, that it involves no fasting on the part of either the chicken or the brethren.

Meanwhile back at the hen house, the Trappist monks of South Carolina deny that they are mistreating their chickens.

“They are very hurt by all this,” abbey spokeswoman Mary Jeffcoat said of the monks.

Maybe it’s time for the two groups to meet in an ecumenical dialogue. Perhaps they could begin by agreeing that hell is no place for man nor chicken.

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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