U.S. Marines Abandon Use of Chickens as Chemical/Biological Weapons Detectors

The U.S. Marines earned the ire of animal rights activists after it proposed using chickens as a detection system for chemical and biological weapons.

The idea was based on the whole canary in a coal mine idea, that if a chemical or biological agent was released the chickens would become ill and then the soldiers could respond by putting on their gas masks and taking other actions.

Of course there were numerous problems with this rather goofy idea. Apparently the Marines didn’t learn until after they had already started this harebrained scheme that there are chemical weapons that will kill human beings long before they make a chicken ill. Not to mention that the chicken’s feathers would protect them from some chemical or biological agents longer than a human being’s.

And then most of the chickens died pretty quickly. According to Stephens Washington Bureau, 41 of the 43 chickens shipped to Kuwait have already died. So the Marines have put the whole scheme on hold, probably permanently.

Just to be sure, though, United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis is urging people to write President George W. Bush and urge him to, “Leave the chickens out of it.”

She’s probably right for a change. Chickens would make a much better meal for soldiers than chemical weapons detectors.


‘Operation KFC’ kicks the bucket. Adam Ashton, Stephens Washington Bureau, March 10, 2003.

Observe the chickens of America clucking towards Baghdad. Drew Cullen, The Register, March 11, 2003.

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