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Chickens: Arise and scratch out cockamamie excuses for discrimination

Pity the poor chicken. Like Rodney Dangerfield, he or she gets no respect.
At Fernandina Beach, Fla., city fathers and mothers voted down an ordinance that would have allowed backyard chickens on private property, even though the county may let folks take their dogs out to dinner. Of course, the pooches must stay outside with their owners, who’ll be eating on one of those patios or porches designed for diners who enjoy the company of mosquitoes and love bugs.
But can someone take his pet chicken to dinner? Not even mentioned.
Fernandina Beach Commissioner Pat Gass apparently realizes that chickens are discriminated against. “We shouldn’t make it so difficult to have a chicken,” she said in a meeting considering the fate of feathered friends of Fernandina.
Amen to that, commissioner.
The City of Jacksonville, Fla., approved a pilot program that would allow backyard chickens, but people wanting permits were required to go to chicken school. (Chickens are slow learners, so they were excused from classes.) Is school required for people wanting to raise dogs or cats? Of course not.
Well, you might argue, chickens can be annoying, getting up at the crack of dawn to announce the arrival of another day when you’re trying to sleep in. But have you ever heard an insomniac dog bark early in the morning? Which sound is more annoying?
Even the great state of Texas, home of some of my closest friends, apparently discriminates against chickens. Consider, for example, the concern over building a private rocket launch site east of Brownsville. Opponents argued that the launches would endanger some already-endangered species, mainly two individual cats of the ocelot or jaguarundi variety.
These cats could be lost, they said, despite the launch company’s plan to post warning signs along the road leading to the site.
How many cats do you know that can read? They’re just ahead of the chicken on the list of slow learners.
Was anybody around Brownsville worried about the blastoffs frightening the chickens? Apparently not.
By the way, the launch site was approved, thanks to those all-important signs warning endangered cats to stay clear, not to mention promises from the company to adopt a three-mile section of the beach and participate in beach cleanups. But chickens have never been big on getting a tan, so you don’t find chicken litter on beaches.
Don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. I have owned a dog — or he owned me — most of my life. Dogs are great friends and dinner companions. I have dined outside with the golden retriever and goldendoodle from next door. They have excellent manners. They do not talk with their mouths full. They do not pick their teeth under the table.
But, doggone it, it’s time someone spoke up for lowly chickens. They have been discriminated against long enough. Maybe they and their owners should hold a sit-in, or set-in, at a fancy restaurant with an outside patio.
And order corn on the cob with love bugs.
Phil Hudgins’ column is published in many newspapers around the Southeast.