The Black Swan and the Chicken

You may have heard of the goose who laid the golden egg. This time, the goose is a chicken named Mae Poulet, and her eggs sell for $50 a pop. All proceeds go to a nonprofit organization that benefits poultry in need.

I adopted Mae a year ago from Craigslist. The ad read, “Free. Would make a good dinner.”

“It’s either you or some lady who wants to make chicken stroganoff,” I was told when I phoned.

I am an animal rights advocate like Natalie Portman; and recently heard of the vegan actress’ dilemma: she wanted to consume eggs during her pregnancy. Portman is a compassionate soul, so I wanted to help her with a compassionate alternative, plus factory farm eggs are filled with toxins that could harm an unborn child.

I offered to provide Natalie with eggs from Mae and the other five, happy hens who roam my half-acre property in Los Angeles. The others were adopted from public animal shelters. My hens will never be killed even though chickens can live 10 ? 15 years and typically stop laying after three. Commercial egg businesses usually slaughter them at one and half, which is equivalent to killing a person at age seven. It is a fowl situation indeed.

Chickens are probably the most exploited and tortured species on earth. Each hen spends her entire life in darkness crammed into a space the size of half a sheet of 8 x 11 paper. She is treated like a disposable food machine. And when baby boy chicks are born, they are ground up alive. The factory farm has no use for them because they don’t make good meat. The whole thing is heart-breaking.

I put an extreme price tag on the eggs to mirror the extreme conditions that hens endure; plus I want to raise funds for chicks in need. However, Portman need not crow about the high price, at least for the first dozen, because two, generous LA businessmen have already paid the tab. Members of the public are invited to buy eggs for Natalie. Proceeds will go to Animal Acres, Farm Sanctuary and the League for Earth and Animal Protection.

The first $600 carton of 12 eggs is ready for delivery, but it seems Mae’s feathers will be ruffled if she cannot meet her favorite actress. She has always loved black swans.

From the perch on her nesting box, Mae whispers, “Tell Natalie to come up and see me some time.”

Charlotte Laws, Ph.D. is an author, NBC commentator and Greater Valley Glen Councilmember.


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