On the eastern edge of Fairview yesterday, I saw a novel construction that made me pause. It was right on the edge of a back alley behind a house.
It was in a neighbourhood not too far south of 16th Avenue where the grass is longer, the bushes are bushier, and nature, well, nature always looks like it just got out of bed.
I expect things in this area to look a little “rustic”, but this was pushing it: two-by-fours, unpainted plywood, an old window for a door, and plenty of chicken wire.
It might have been the ugliest lane home in Vancouver, but it was a bit too small for that. Perhaps a minimum security playhouse?
Then the three ginger hens strode into view.
What a dumb cluck I was. This was one of those chicken coops the city of Vancouver is allowing homeowners to keep in their backyards—first one I’d seen.
Think global, eat local, one egg at a time
You know you’re an oppressed species when there’s a type of steel wire fence mesh named after you.
But these chickens didn’t look a bit distressed by their captivity; rather they looked blasé and even a bit jaundiced (perhaps because of their yellow eyes).
And I’ve heard little or no outcry from animal rights activists against the keeping of chickens, save when they’re kept in inhuman conditions.
Perhaps the threshold test for whether it’s totally wrong or not to keep an animal in captivity is whether the animal is intelligent enough to know it’s in captivity.
Now that I think about it, that might have been the same test used in the Garden of Eden—Adam and Eve were released from captivity after they ate fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.
Whales and dolphins are already smart enough to know but chickens, not so much.
You look into a chicken’s eyes and there is no there there, if you know what I mean.