On May 4, activists the world over will be celebrating International Respect for Chickens Day - an event organized by United Poultry Concerns - to take action for the most abused animal on the planet. Here are a few fascinating facts about chickens:
∑ Chickens understand sophisticated intellectual concepts, learn from watching each other, demonstrate self-control, worry about the future, and even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation.
∑ Chickens comprehend cause-and-effect relationships and understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden from view. This puts the cognitive abilities of chickens above those of small human children.
∑ When in their natural surroundings, not on factory farms, chickens form complex social hierarchies, also known as "pecking orders," and every chicken knows his or her place on the social ladder and remembers the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds.
∑ People who have spent time with chickens know that each bird has a different personality that often relates to his or her place in the pecking order - some are gregarious and fearless, while others are more shy and watchful; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive.
If you want to help protect these interesting, intelligent, gentle animals from the worst abuses they suffer - like being electrocuted, burned to death, and crippled - we've got plenty of ways to get involved.
You could organize a demonstration against KFC, forward Pam Anderson's KFC exposť to everyone you know, or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about the wonderful capabilities of chickens and how KFC and other meat merchants abuse them in ways that would be illegal if dogs or cats were the victims.
Thank you for everything you do for animals. With every action we take - no matter how small - we are changing the world.