Monday, May 08, 2006

KFC-free and liking it

it's been more than a year since we last walked into one of colonel sander's fried chicken stores, ordered their classic fried chicken, dipped it in warm gravy before taking a hefty bite of the crisp, juicy chicken. these days when looking for a place to eat, we would gladly trade our craving for chicken — that KFC would be more than willing to indulge us — to the neighborhood carinderia that offers not as crispy, not as juicy chicken (for this i am glad there's chicken joy from jollibee). this self-imposed boycott is not part of a campaign for bigger chicken portions or better service or overflowing gravy. it is, in fact, part of a campaign that PETA* started almost five years ago, for KFC to put a stop to it's cruelty to chickens.

i have not exactly mustered the strength to go vegetarian (choosing instead healthy eating, whatever that means), but i feel we have to draw the line somewhere on the way our food is treated before it it served on our plate. for example, i love pinikpikan but wish there was simply a better way for it to achieve its flavor than to beat the chicken senseless to get the desired blood clots that gives it its unique taste. and after that, should the chicken survive the beating, it's sure to find its end as it is roasted in open fire in whatever degree of consciousness it's still in. to be party to my meal's agonizing experience may be too much. i am thankful that baguio, where this dish is served, is hours away from manila.

the truth is, is there really a good way to be eaten? would a happy and content chicken be as grateful as a miserable, debilitated chicken that you ended its existence? should there be more uproar if you butchered Babe than if it's just a nameless, smelly swine in a piggery? ah, and so the endless debate begins. they're food, that's their fate. but do we really have the right to do it just because we can?

the answers, only colonel sanders can tell.

*PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Cartoon from Gary Larson's The Far Side