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Chickens Are More Than Food?

In the documentary, The Natural History of the Chicken, written and directed by Mark Lewis and produced by PBS, Lewis wants to show viewers that chickens are perceived differently by many and are not only entrees. Through a series of personal experiences and events, Lewis portrays the variety of roles chickens play in the lives of Americans. By showing the chicken farms, Lewis shows ethos and credibility because he actually shows that the information he is giving is true. It is sad when the little chicks are shown falling off the conveyor belt as if they are just objects or commodities and not living, breathing creatures.

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When the workers just grab them and push their heads against the metal to be vaccinated, they just throw them back onto the rotating belt like they are pieces of garbage or plastic. By showing the different cities and towns where each event takes place, Lewis shows that there are really people out there who are telling these stories and that they are not made up from imagination. He gives his audience proof by actually showing several newspaper articles referring to the events that he mentions take place. The audience cannot argue with concrete evidence. The audience can relate to the different people based on their views about chickens.

Some people think that chickens are their friends and that they can develop a healthy relationship with them while others see them as irritating or just as natural living things. For example, in Harpswell, Maine, Janet Bonney says that chickens have different personalities. Bonney compares them to humans and sees them as her friends. One night when she finds that one of her chickens, Valerie, is missing, she finds her frozen outside and brings her inside to bury her in a box. When she leaves Valerie for awhile, she is surprised to discover a faint heartbeat which then leads Bonney to give Valerie mouth-to-beak resuscitation.

Bonney’s story shows that there are people out there that see chickens as their friends and see them as individuals with different personalities. Bonney talks to the chickens like they are people, and is even about to bury her in a box when she finds her frozen outside. This shows that she has respect for Valerie even though she is just a chicken. Also, by giving Valerie mouth-to-beak resuscitation, Bonney shows that she really cares for her chickens, because not many people would actually follow through with the procedure or even think of it just to save their chicken.

This appeals to pathos because at the thought of losing a friend, Valerie, Bonney does anything she can to save her “friend’s” life. Anyone would try their best, if possible, to save a friend’s life. Another example is, in Maple Spring Farm, Virginia, Joseph Martinez, a farmer, explains how he raises his own chickens and eats them to be closer to the whole cycle of the food chain. He feels that chickens have a sort of energy which brings life to the farm. Martinez feels that he has a special kind of connection with them by raising them, but is not hindered by the fact that he is going to have to eventually kill them to eat them.

Some people might agree with Martinez’s thoughts about chickens because they might not think about chickens emotionally, but more on a worldly level and realize that that is just the way things work. In addition, in Oxford, Ohio, neighbors complained about how one man collected over one hundred roosters and the amount of noise that was produced completely disrupted the lives of the neighborhood. One man said, “I’d just crawl with a gun over there and start takin’ em out one by one. ” To Bobby Wayne Webb, raising a rooster from the time when it is a chick is like a raising a child to him.

He thinks the crowing is a lovely sound. Though he disrupted a neighborhood and got sued, his love for roosters hasn’t faltered at all. In fact he is upset that his roosters have been taken away and that he is only left with five. Some people hate the irritating sounds that chickens make and this is shown through the several neighbors involved in the event whose lives were turned upside down due to the excessive noise of the roosters. Others agree with Webb in loving the sounds that these creatures make. Furthermore, in West Palm Beach Florida, Karin Estrada lives with her Japanese Silkie Bantam Rooster, Cotton.

She calls him her baby, takes him swimming, wrote a poem for him, and blow-dries him. She feeds him everything that she eats, lets him watch television, and makes him wear diapers. Estrada seems to be an extreme example of a person who loves her chicken, but there are probably others out there just like her. She treats him just like a human being and includes him in everything that she does. She does not see him as food in any way, but still doesn’t mind eating chicken though she has one as a pet. Finally, one heart touching story is that of Pastor Joseph Tauer and his chicken, Liesel.

One day, when she took the chicks out, a hawk flew down and was about to attack the babies, but courageous Liesel protected her babies by covering them with her body. He describes her with great vivid detail, and much respect and sentiment for her. She was willing to sacrifice herself for her babies. This shows true love and that maybe chickens are smarter than what we make them out to be. Liesel can be compared to any human mother that would protect her children and give up her life. She showed her courage and love for her chicks by willing to give up her own life for them.

This story shows pathos because it appeals to the emotions of the viewers that Liesel would give up her life to defend something more important to her. These experiences show pathos because they delve into the emotional aspects of the audience and have different effects on the viewers. There are many facts throughout the movie which educate the viewers about chickens and give the audience more information about them. For example, the video shows, “American consumers spend $40 billion each year on chicken products. ” The reason Lewis did this was to show the audience how much money is spent each year on chicken.

It shows logos because it gives the audience a fact to ponder over and also because the audience would not question the fact mainly since it is a reasonable number and since because it is a documentary, the information in it would be educational and accurate. The numbers show how many Americans see chickens just as food. Another example of logos shown was, “The day old chicks are vaccinated against disease. ” It is important that Lewis mentions that the day old chicks are vaccinated, because he makes them seem more real and more like actually creatures than like food as most people see them.

It seems to show as if some people actually care about them by vaccinating them, but in truth, they are only being vaccinated so that they can grow up to be healthy and then eaten by people. In addition, “This year 8 billion chickens will be slaughtered to meet consumer demand. ” By giving the number of chickens, the viewer might seem overwhelmed by the amount of chickens that are killed to be eaten which might make them feel a little sympathy for the chickens. Also by using specific word choice, notice that the word slaughtered is used in place of killed. This makes the killing of the chickens more vicious as they are “slaughtered. The viewers feel more disheartened and depressed about the chickens. Furthermore, one last example was, “Each chicken shares a cage with six to seven other hens. The cages are so small the hens cannot spread their wings. ” This might make some people sad to know that the chickens do not have much room to live and are in cramp conditions. But in reality, though, it shouldn’t matter much because the chickens are going to grow up and eventually be eaten anyways. By using logos, these facts show that most Americans see chickens only as a part of their diet and nothing more.

The point of view that the movie portrayed was that chickens are not just food. They are living creatures that have intelligence and can form relationships with humans just like other animals like cats and dogs. Though they might not seem “cute and cuddly” to all Americans, they are to some people and if people really gave them a chance they probably could be interesting creatures. Unfortunately as they are unattractive and are only thought of as food by most people, it would not be easy for many people to accept them as pets or as creatures that people can have relationships with.

Since mainly people in the country have chickens, they would more easily accept chickens than people in the city. If only people gave them a chance to prove it, chickens could be entertaining pets and could show people that they don’t just taste good but that they are captivating creatures that can stimulate your mind and heart. The majority of people in the United States see chicken as nothing more than a staple food in their daily diet. Through this video, people can see different perspectives on chickens that they had never thought of before.

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