Backyard chickens: resourceful or evil? (comic included below!)  »

I don’t eat eggs, but I’ve always said that if I did eat eggs, I’d want them to be from chickens that I had the chance to get know. You know, the kind of chickens that live in your backyard. That way, I’d be sure they weren’t suffering and creating an environmental apocalypse like those poor factory-farmed chickens. Once, before I was vegan, I even lived in a house with chickens in the yard, and they seemed to be all zen about their lives.

But maybe that’s not good enough.

I started thinking about this whole issue this week because of a listener-submitted Perspective on KQED radio. I was minding my morning business, falling over trying to put on pantyhose, when this lady comes on the radio all sad about how her neighbor didn’t like the noise her chickens made. In order to keep the peace, she gave them to a good home. She says she’s now buying her eggs from Trader Joe’s.

How’s a vegan girl to feel about this? Not all bads are created equal, and eggs from your yard seem to have a lot going for them that eggs from Trader Joe’s don’t. I respect omnivores who are making conscious choices about their food and trying to do better than the shudder-inducing status quo. These people should be our allies, right?

Then again, backyard chickens aren’t exactly zero-impact. But as an April Treehugger post by Sami Grover points out, no-impact is not an option for any of us. Tofurky, Daiya and even cashews and kale aren’t zero-impact either.

While I was mulling it over, an awesome comic on the subject by former UC Berkeley student Alfred Twu showed up in the Vegansaurus inbox. He makes some really good points I didn’t know about, like that chickens stop producing many eggs after a few years and then what do you do with them?

I’m going to present the comic in its entirety below, so just a few more thoughts before I do.

Obviously based on my life choices I think it’s best to abstain from chicken products of any kind. But I’m also really loathe to foist my choices on others, and as I said, I admire the thought and can-do spirit that often accompanies the decision to raise chickens.

So what do you think, readers? Deluded bourgeois cruel slavery? Well-intentioned but misguided? Better than the alternative, just like vegetarian is better than not? Let’s talk this shit out!

Also read the comic because it’s AWESOME. Alfred made it in response to at a time when an ordinance being considered in Oakland, and his a group has a petition against the ordinance you can sign if you want.

Ok, without further ado, the COMIC! Don’t forget to discuss in the comments section. It’s like homework but awesomer.

Chicken image at the top used under CC license via Lost Albatross on

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