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Monday, January 9, 2012

The 95%

When discussing what to post on Facebook for National Bird Day on January 5, my partner and I agreed that although ducks and turkeys should be recognized, we should talk about chickens raised for meat. Why? Because of the 10 billion land animals killed for food in the U.S. each year, more than nine billion of them are chickens. In fact, my partner said, they are the 95% and that's when the image you see was born.

Food Empowerment Project supports the ideals of both the Occupy movement and Occupy the Hood, so it got my more creative mind thinking about the issues we work closely on.

Many of us are familiar with part of the impetus for the 99% movement, where the richest 1% of the population makes the rules.

As a Chicana who is clearly part of the 99%, I often start to wonder about those who are barely part of the 99%. Those whose income is not that of the middle class and, in fact, those who aren’t even on the radar. That would include many farm workers and those who are and are not documented. Those who work hard to put food on our tables and participate in our economy by their purchases. Where do they fit in?

The Occupy movement has really worked to bring in all sorts of people, from unions to college students.

And, what if the chickens decided to “Occupy.” Where do you think they would start?

Wall Street? It might be fitting since this is where cows used to be slaughtered.

Or would they pick a fast food restaurant such as McDonald’s or KFC? After all, they are responsible for raising and killing billions of these amazing birds for food.

Or rather, I would like to think that each individual bird would actually choose to sit with one person. One chicken per person to spend time with them. Most people have never spent time with chickens or with the living animals they eat. They could explain to people what they enjoy in their life, like dust bathing and scratching in the earth, and the hens could talk about family and how well they take care of their chicks. They could show each person that they are more than a ‘leg’ or a 'wing' and they indeed are not nuggets.

Just as those in the 99% movement are showing their determination and tenacity while speaking for so many of us, the chickens could really help people have a better understanding of how much they and other non-human animals are capable of enjoying their lives.

The world will be a better place when we remind ourselves that even as the 'minority' we can have an important and positive impact on the world when speaking for those who are the most vulnerable, and we will never stop fighting.

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