Karen Davis Reviews Book on Chicken Slaughter Houses

United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis recently posted her review of Steve Striffler’s, Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food to AR-NEWS. Striffler’s book is published by Yale University Press and is an account of time he spent working at a slaughterhouse to research his book.

Davis is unhappy that Striffler focuses so much on the plight of the workers in the chicken plant rather than the chickens. Typical of Davis view is this account of her exchange with Striffler,

In his preface, which Striffler defended to me as “not [intended] to educate readers about the technical details of killing a chicken” (so it’s okay to bungle the facts?), he writes: “I do not feel sorry for Javier [a worker in the plant] or the chickens. I have worked in a plant before, and stabbing chickens is a relatively easy job. Many workers would be glad to trade places. And the chickens are there to die.”

Granted, a job where you get to sit on a stool and stick, as it were, “sitting ducks” for eight hours beats most other jobs at the plant, where the majority of workers, a third of them women, are forced to stand on their feet for eight hours and perform ruinous physical labor. As for invoking the fact that the chickens are “there to die” to justify lack of pity for them, ask yourself if this logic works regarding, say, terminal cancer-ward or nursing-home patients — “I don’t feel sorry for these people; they are here to die.”

The comparison of chickens for slaughter to nursing home patients might be shocking if Davis hadn’t previously compared victims of the Holocaust to Nazis or infamously maintained that the 9/11 attack likely reduced the level of suffering in the world because most of those killed were likely meat eaters.


Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food, Review. Karen Davis, January 4, 2006.

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