Website review: Chicken.com

The subject of this week’s website review – the National Chicken Council – proved to be a distracting and elusive target, much like the barnyard animal to which it’s dedicated with its head chopped off. I found myself wandering off to other areas of the Internet with no apparent connection to my original subject. The Web has a way of doing that to your best intentions. Start out researching American bomb testing on Bikini Atoll and the next thing you know, you’re studying American Idol contestant Bikini Girl.

The National Chicken Council, not surprisingly located at nationalchickencouncil.com, promotes the consumption of chicken and fosters a positive public image for the industry. It’s a full-service trade association that promotes and protects the interests of the chicken trade and is the industry’s voice before Congress and federal agencies. It is not, unfortunately, an association of the birds themselves determined to end their enslavement and exploitation.

The website features several appetizing pictures across the top of the home page, and if you allow your browser arrow to linger there long enough, these are identified as “chicken photos.” Further down, there are links to several of the key issues confronting the nation’s chicken producers. Specifically these include “correction” of an alarmist article in SELF Magazine about chicken preparation safety, how the council opposes a boost in the ethanol content in gasoline (to free up more corn for chickens, I guess), and how they applaud an end to the European ban on American poultry and support for a trade agreement with Russia. Like the chicken itself, the council is selfless to a fault, concerned more about the health and well-being of Americans than their own interests.

There’s also an article about the safe, government-regulated use of arsenic-containing compounds in chicken feed, but the less we know about that, the better.

Speaking of frightening thoughts, the NCC invited Gen. Barry McCaffrey to speak at its fifty-fourth annual conference last fall. (I guess if we all die as the result of a rogue nuclear attack on our homeland, it’s really going to put a dent in chicken sales.) McCaffrey virtually scared the feathers off the conferees. He noted how the situation in Pakistan is unstable, how Iran will soon go nuclear under the Sunni Arabs, how the death of Castro could mean 500,000 refugees within 36 months, and how a confrontation with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez will lead to continued instability in oil supplies. Because he didn’t mention the crispy goodness of a well-fried leg quarter, however, they reportedly knocked $25,000 off his speaker fees.

Speaking of fried chicken, which used to be the centerpiece of the KFC menu before it was replaced by the mysterious “FC,” I was intrigued by their newest TV ad campaign so I went to their website to read all the fine print I couldn’t make out on my 54-inch television.

There’s a Tyson chicken truck pulling up to the restaurant as the voiceover talks about how fresh the chicken is. But the tiny type tells us “fresh claim is applicable to KFC’s drumsticks, thighs, wings and breasts; not applicable due to supply outages.” Then we see a young woman who claims to be the in-house cook at that location, but the tiny type tells us it’s an “actor portrayal.” Then we see a tagline about the newest offer of dinners for five, $3 each, but the tiny type tells us this is a “limited time offer at participating restaurants , prices may vary, tax extra, extra charge for breast piece substitution.” As a professional typographer, I must object to the way small point sizes are used to convey such disclaiming. That’s what whispered fast-talking is for.

Getting back to the National Chicken Council, I started to wonder what other kinds of special-interest representation is being done on behalf of animals with similarly funny-sounding names. I searched for the National Turkey Council but it turned out to be more concerned with the geopolitics of Asia Minor than with our favorite Thanksgiving bird. Seems I should’ve looked instead for the National Turkey Federation, located at the not-so-subtle URL of http://www.eatturkey.com. Next, I tried to locate a lobbying group for ducks but came up only with hunting information and Food Network recipes.

Turning away from food animals (at least for most of us), I found that the Monkey Association is concerned primarily with a free-association exercise done by a digital monkey, that there’s something called the National Monkey Knife-Fighting Association, and that if you’re sincerely concerned about our closest relative in the animal kingdom, what you really want is the International Primate Association.

Change the “m” in “monkey” to a “d,” and you’ll find the American Donkey Association. This group was founded by Dale and Geri McCall of Oregon for the purpose of “improving the status of the donkey.” They are currently establishing chapters all over the country so that people who own donkeys and “people who just love donkeys can share their interests, their zeal, their passion and their knowledge of these fun animals.” The website tells us there are several sizes of donkeys and each has its own purpose and pleasure, and that Dale and Geri have been “involved” with donkeys, mules and horses for a combined total of 75 years. (I assume that’s human years rather than donkey years, which I don’t know the translation for.) The McCall’s ask “would you like to see donkeys presented in shows that are strictly for donkeys? We would too. Let the ADA show you how to do just that.” I’m sorry, but this is just getting a little too silly.

Speaking of silly, I got to wondering what it was about the chicken, the turkey, the duck, the monkey and the donkey that struck me as funny. The only commonality I could readily come up with was that all of them contain the letter “k”. So I Googled “animals starting with ‘k’” to see if this hypothesis would hold up to the rigorous scientific standards of the typical search engine. I came up with the kangaroo (funny), kookaburra (really funny), kinkajou (hilarious), kitten (cute but with sharp claws), kudu (sounds like “doo-doo,” so it’s funny), koala (again, cute), krill (shrimp-like), katydid (riotous), killer whale (endangered and not at all funny to small marine mammals) and Komodo dragon (first word funny, second word scary). So the evidence is a bit inconclusive.

By the way, there is an International Kangaroo Society, but I could find no council, federation, association, commission, congress, convention, alliance, partnership, union or society that cared about the Komodo dragon. I hear that they’re a very solitary creature and, besides, they would probably eat people rather than vice versa.

 

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4 Responses to “Website review: Chicken.com”

  1. E.F. Misanthrope Says:

    Davis trawls the depths of the internet dredging up the sites other blogging fishermen can’t reach, but before I drown in my own metaphors, let me thank Davis for another chucklesome entry to the blogosphere.
    As a twenty-year long vegetarian, E.F. Misanthrope would much rather see societies to protect animals than organisation whose raison d’etre is to organise their slaughter and maximise profit in doing so, and would like to see the Chicken Council becoming, as Davis puts it, “an association of the birds themselves determined to end their enslavement and exploitation.” No doubt a human-led organisation already exists somewhere out there in sanctimonious Vegitarianville, but the Misanthrope family has little time for any kind of association really, or for the world in general, for that matter, preferring instead to let Davis W investigate the planet for them, and season it with lashings of dry comic wit to make it more palatable.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Thropplenoggin Says:

    Quite. This DavisW chap is just the ticket to sort tosh from bosh, and, dare I say, bosh from tosh?

    As a lifelong carnivore, might I add my two farthings worth and suggest that, were vegetables to suddenly become moribund overnight, I think we’d see a rather dainty pirouette of a volte-face by the brassica buffs and bean fiends…

    More perspicacious persiflage anon,

    The Big T

  3. Kate Says:

    Smiling, too. Kate

  4. Lost Nightlife Says:

    Paula Abdul finally been give the timmy tack, excellent.

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