Tuesday, January 22, 2008

British Chef Jamie Oliver Kills a Chicken on TV

Jamie Oliver is one of Britain's best known chefs. Last year he traveled America trying to raise awareness about the sorry state of school lunches. He advocates low fat and lots of vegetables for school children. According to the New York Times, Oliver expanded his mission. Recently he slaughtered a chicken on his British cooking show in an attempt to get Brits to think about where their food comes from. Oliver spoke against the cruel practices of the factory farming industry.

Personally, I've become dismayed and deeply troubled by the lack of awareness of American consumers. Most seem to walk through life in a blind haze, rarely thinking about much at all. Certainly, most Americans fail to consider that the Big Mac they are chowing on is flesh and once was a living being. Few if any contemplate the life and death of the cow they are chowing on, it's just not relevant to their consumer lifestyle, spent mindlessly consuming. There is no reverence, awe or respect for the magnificent creature they are wolfing down. There is no concern for the horrendous suffering of the cow while alive, nor of the terrifying and painful death at the slaughterhouse. Americans simply do not think about such things, and Jamie Oliver seems to believe that Brits are no better.

While I laud Oliver's goal, to connect the Brit with their food and to end mindless and thoughtless consuming, I abhor his technique. Chickens are sentient beings. They actually are quite smart and they are social. It is not ethical to end the life of a thinking, feeling being. It's just not acceptable. Oliver would have been run out of town on a rail if he killed a cat on his show, or a dog. In the big picture, a chicken is no different that a dog or cat, they all think and feel. How sad that Jamie Oliver thinks the best way to get people to treat animals better is to murder them on television.

NY Times: Chef's New Goal: Looking Dinner in the Eye

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