Sauna Tales - The Chicken Massacre

I was enjoying the heat of the sauna when a question was asked of one of the patrons.
“How many chickens did you kill today?” asked the Italian bald guy on the top row.
“Sixty five” replied the man, lying on the floor, washcloth covering his face and his feet up on the bench. Not so bad I thought. Sixty-five chickens. Vancouver’s a big place.
“Sixty-five thousand,” he continued in his thick accent. I’m sorry, come again? Did you just say you killed sixty-five thousand chickens in one day? How is that even possible? I began to really sweat and observe my sauna transform from enjoyable to unbearable. That’s twenty three million, seven hundred and fifty thousand a year at only one slaughterhouse.

By the time their conversation ended I discovered this figure is the average but can often go as high as eighty-five thousand a day depending on the demand. That’s mind blowing. They have people working around the clock and this man was going back for his second eight-hour shift of the day. I’ve no idea what the company’s distribution reach is but this made me stop in my tracks. This figure so clearly reminds me of how many people we are.

I’m often at odds with the food I eat, where to buy it and how “real” what I’m eating actually is. I love eggs, for example, but slowly I’m realizing what a horrid deed I am partaking in every time I eat one. We used to eat meat as a treat, along with many other items but now it’s often a part of multiple meals a day. One of the first things I notice when I travel to other non-western countries is that they don’t eat meat every day, not even close. Westerners have so much choice available that we have become greedy. Perhaps after the war and rationing was over people said enough! There will be abundance but now we’ve surpassed that. We’ve gone far beyond what we need and what we crave I believe to the point where our food supply chain is unable to keep up.

I looked around the sauna to see if anyone else was having a reaction but nothing, instead I noticed the large protruding bellies all the men were sporting – just one small sign of our collective indulgence. I have many moments of weakness when it comes to food and pretty much any dress that catches my eye and fits but I constantly remind myself that I have enough. I have ENOUGH. I don’t need to feed into the constant madness. I can shop at a thrift store. I can eat meat sparingly, joyfully and now most likely from my local farmers market… if at all. Perhaps being vegan isn’t really that hard after all?

Later at home the short film “What is Wrong with our Culture,” narrated by Alan Watts, showed up on my news feed. I feel it fits perfectly.

Sauna Tales - The Chicken Massacre


Vancouver, Canada

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Musings on our daily chicken massacres.

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