A letter to the editors: Chicken Running

Post date: Jul 24, 2015 9:4:17 AM

By Alvergorius Cognundrum  

Dear Editor. 

     We at the Hobbit Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Chickens (HSPCC) feel obliged to protest at the practice of staging so-called Chicken Runs, from Farmer Sandson's chicken farm to various destinations outside the bounds of the Shire, which appear to be increasing in frequency, and are manifest expressions of cruelty towards chickens:

1) These events take place largely outside the the Shire, through lands notoriously inhabited by a variety of large and dangerous predators. So much so that large numbers of armed Hobbits are required to conduct the chickens en route, but who, it appears, are unable to guarantee a safe passage to the runners.Encounters with such ferocious creatures must cause severe mental distress to the chickens, as well as physical distress if the escorts fail to protect them. (No statistics are ever published to show how many chickens in fact perish).

2) Absent evidence to the contrary, it appears that some if not all the running chickens are separated from the friends and relations who remain at Sandson's farm, which must cause severe mental distress to both runners and their stay-at-home families.

3) Physical distress is also caused by the failure to provide the running chickens with any protective footwear. Chickens, unlike Hobbits, are flying creatures, and do not have leathery soles to their feet. Painful bruises and lacerations are therefore bound to ensue.

     We therefore call upon all right-minded Hobbits to join us in seeking to bring an end to the pernicious practice of Chicken Running.

signed: Alvergorius Cognundrum

             Hon.Secretary, HSPCC

Editor:   Every now and then the Gazette receives a letter from a reader who is concerned about an aspect of Shire life. We will gladly publish such letters, although this does not mean that the opinions expressed in them are those of the editorial staff.

We welcome the responses of other readers, which will be published below.

Following is the reaction of Miss Rubysue Boggs:

Dear Editor,

I do hope this missive finds you well and happy and that you may find it suitable for publication in the Bramblebury Gazette.  It is my personal response to the letter printed recently in the Gazette by one Alvergorius Cognundrum, self styled head of the never before heard of Hobbit Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Chickens (HSPCC), regarding the periodic public service and humanitarian events often hosted by my Kinship, The Grand Order of the Lost Mathom, and commonly referred to as "Chicken Runs."

Please be clear that this is my response and I am not writing on behalf of my Kinship.  It is my answer the reactionary, sadly misinformed and poorly thought out protestations of Master Cognumdrum and, if there are actually other members, the HSPCC.

While to the uninformed eye, I will grant that the Chicken Run events may look as if they place the said chickens in undue danger and pose the threat of doing harm to one or more of their self esteems should they fall victim to a predator along the way.  But the facts are quite different!  Sanderson's chickens are bold, yes bold and adventurous birds.  And they are tough beyond all of the expectations an uninformed shallow thinker might conjure.

Tough I say, and what's more that is precisely what I mean, and in more ways than one. Unlike the chickens at Miss Dora Brownlock's nearby farm who are regularly ravaged by wolves, Sanderson's chicken flock has actually been seen by very reliable witnesses, including myself, actually stalking and attacking roving wolves and killing them on the spot!  Tough.  And that toughness is nowhere displayed more than on the grueling Chicken Runs.

But the Chicken Runs do more than simply offer these bold chuks the opportunity for a bit of adventure. The long runs strengthen muscles, toughen sinews, and burn fat.  All of which make these chickens tough in yet another way. These lean mean wolf fighting chickens end up completely unfit for the pot.  And thus you see the truly humanitarian and altruistic motives behind the Chicken Runs. Farmer Sanderson's egg business flourishes and the chickens live long and happy lives, safe from the cook pot, and even extended more by their healthy lifestyles guaranteed by regular marathon runs.

I hope this will serve to assuage any legitimate concerns that may have been harbored by Master Cognumdrum and the members, if any, of the so called HSPCC.

Yours most sincerely,

Rubysue Boggs

Wending's End, Songburrow in The Shire