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Cats & chickens

12/12/2011 @ 8:50am

I'm getting tired of hearing our politicians talk about stuff that doesn't matter. They need to start dealing with items of substance. For instance, when are they going to pass a constitutional amendment requiring people to keep chickens as pets? Or more to the point, one that says you're not allowed to have a cat unless you also have laying hens.

Let me explain. First, I have nothing against pets. Lots of them are useful. Dogs will save you from a burning building, alert you to burglars, and gaze at you with unwavering adoration. Hamsters are good for cleaning the dust from the inside of vacuum cleaner hoses and parrots will tell you if your wife has been on the phone secretly plotting your assassination with her lover, Ramone. (If you don't have a parrot, you should check your wife's cellphone. And if she tells you Ramone is her mechanic or dentist, I'd suggest you pack and make a break for it.)

But cats...please. Living with a cat is like living with a hairy rattlesnake. No affection, no training possible, and you know in your heart of hearts the only reason they don't kill and eat you is because you're too big. That thing cats do where they crouch on your stomach and absentmindedly plod up and down with their front paws? They're just checking to see if you're tender yet and you know I'm right.

So, since everyone can agree that cats are nothing more than a giant hairball-shaped drag on the economy, but some people, for reasons that pass understanding, still want them around, we need to put some incentives in place. Hence, the chickens.

Here's the thing. Many people complain about those giant egg factories – millions of miserable chickens in teeny tiny cages yielding millions of tasteless eggs. I don't really think about chickens as animals that get a lot of joy out of life no matter what their circumstances, but I have to admit, the tiny cages bother me a little bit, too. On the other hand, we gotta have eggs. What to do? Require everyone to keep one hen for each member of the family. So, five people in the house - five chickens. You'll get three to five eggs a day, which is plenty for omelets and an angel food cake once a week. You could keep the chickens in a nice pen in the corner of the kitchen – where you would otherwise put the kitty litter pan. The chickens would cluck to keep you company and eat all the stale salad and fruit that you would have throw out before. Once a week you clean the cage and use the manure to fertilize your rhododendron. So we have a triple win here – no millions of chickens in tiny cages, less solid waste for land fills and organic fertilizer for your rhododendron.

I'm not going to gloss over the downside. First of all, chickens don't purr, their eyes are a little on the beady side, and if you put a leash on them it just pulls right off over the top of their pointy heads. You need to harness them, kind of like the ones people put on bulldogs. And, if you do manage to make little harnesses and take them to the park, they aren't really going to...frolic. Even if they fly a little, they're not going to be catching frisbees.

Now, I know you're thinking, “This is dumb.”

But answer me this. Would it be the dumbest thing our elected officials have done lately?

I rest my case.

Copyright 2011 Brent Olson

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