It’s not every day you get to wake up to an article with this as the leading paragraph:

Just how did farm chickens end up inside campus buildings at Carnegie Mellon University last weekend? And who decided to paint them?

And the headline is straight Sherlock Holmes –The Case of the Spray-Painted Chickens.

So, let me sum this up for you:

Nine farm chickens found roaming various CMU buildings.  CMU calls lady from a farm.  Lady from the farm comes and gets the chickens to rescue them.  Lady from the farm says some of the chickens have paint on them.  Lady from the farm says this is cruelty to animals.  CMU is being mostly quiet about it as they look into what happened.  Two of the chickens are sick. WHY GOD, WHY?!  And lady from the farm says:

“I would think if they’re serious about this and they want to get to the bottom of it, somebody would have called to inquire about how they’re doing,” she said.

“Do they want to keep these things quiet? Is it routine for a college to hide crime? I mean, I think it’s a crime,” she said. “I’d love to see this go public, because this … shouldn’t be tolerated at these schools or anywhere else.”

Oh sweet Lord.  Listen.  Except in the case of pigeons, I am against animal cruelty.  I mean that.

They’re chickens with some paint on them! If the students had tortured these chickens, or burnt these chickens with cigarettes or strung these chickens up alive, I would be horrified.  But that is not the case here.

What did she expect CMU to do?  Issue a press release all, “Yeah, we just want to let the media know that we found some painted chickens on campus.”  That’s almost as ridiculous as accusing CMU of covering up some chicken-painting crime ring like it’s Ben Roethlisberger’s thumb.

So now it’s gone public.  What does the farm lady think will happen now?

Will CMU send flowers and “Get Well Soon!” balloons to the chickens?  Does she think we the people are going to march on CMU demanding justice for the Chicken Nine? 23 million chickens get their heads chopped off every single day. Chickens are food or provide food in the form of delicious eggs.

Get over it.  It was a prank.  The chickens are alive.  The students will be dealt with. Life goes on. I had eggs for breakfast and I’m having chicken for dinner.

Let’s gain a little perspective here before, God help us, PETA decides to get involved, because the last thing we need are batshit crazy naked women covered in paint, chaining themselves to —

Actually, that sounds kind of interesting.

Hey, PETA, they’re painting chickens over at CMU!


  1. Emma
    March 18, 2010 2:47 pm

    Jess – I agree completely with you. I am not a PETA crazed animal rights maniac, just an animal lover. I’m rather put-off by this entire post. They are living creatures that someone abused. You wouldn’t be joking if someone painted Haitian orphans and left them around the CMU campus.

  2. Lisa G.
    March 18, 2010 2:51 pm

    Love the blog, and these comments are funny, but I’m with Jess on this one. Animal cruelty indeed. The Gandhi quote says it best.

  3. Jess
    March 18, 2010 2:58 pm

    Totally ok Bojack, I get you’re kidding around at my terminology in #47 and #48 and not those chickens, and I like the quote in #49. :)

  4. Jen
    March 18, 2010 3:00 pm

    Jess, “free-range” chicken farms aren’t really as different from the others as you think they are. For one thing, all chick hatcheries kill male chicks shortly after being born (in fairly gruesome ways), even the hatcheries that supply the “free-range” farms. There was a big hullabaloo about this in the news a few months ago, with undercover video and whatnot.

  5. Jen
    March 18, 2010 3:02 pm

    Emma, you’re not actually comparing chickens to children, are you? That’s effed up.

  6. Emma
    March 18, 2010 3:08 pm

    So abusing animals is okay, but abusing children isn’t? Their both effed up in my opinion.

  7. Jess
    March 18, 2010 3:08 pm

    Thanks Jen, good info to point out that you have to be careful what you buy in grocery stores because labels re: free-range and organic can be very deceiving on what the producers and government’s definitions of those terms are and you may be surprised that what you are buying may not really be as cruelty-free as you think…but as for me personally, I’m pretty well-versed in that kind of stuff, and I buy meat and eggs that are about as cruelty-free as you can get. :)

  8. Emma
    March 18, 2010 3:09 pm

    Their should be they’re, sorry.

  9. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 3:11 pm

    @RPM- I was joking about the Ritalin! LOL

  10. WTF
    March 18, 2010 3:15 pm

    OMG! Bojack quoting Ghandi?

    The end must be near!

  11. one-eyed dick
    March 18, 2010 3:18 pm

    rpm @ no. 40: Geez, I don’t know–I’m pretty damn ugly. And I have people who will back me up on that…..

  12. Jen
    March 18, 2010 3:23 pm

    Jess, no chicken you buy in the store is “cruelty-free.” They all come from hatcheries that kill male chicks after they are born, often by dumping them into an industrial grinder. The only chickens that might be considered “cruelty-free” are the ones you might get from somebody you know personally who incubated their eggs themselves. You are fooling yourself if you think otherwise.

    Emma, I never said abusing animals was OK. I said it’s effed up to say that abusing a chicken is comparable to abusing a child. They’re not even in the same ballpark.

  13. SpudMom
    March 18, 2010 3:24 pm

    My day isn’t complete unless someone finds a way to offended by a blog they are not obligated to read. *thumbs up*

  14. Kathy
    March 18, 2010 3:27 pm

    Emma: get an effin clue, a life, a prozac, or whatever else it is you need to get your priorities straight, have a sense of humor, and lighten up.

  15. Emma
    March 18, 2010 3:40 pm

    Whew, now who needs to lighten up?

  16. Rhode Island Red
    March 18, 2010 3:40 pm

    bock bock bock bock bagock! bock bock bock bock bagock!bock bock bock bock…..crunch crunch gurgle gurgle bagock

  17. Rob
    March 18, 2010 3:46 pm

    1. Spray paint is harmful to birds. Breathing paint isn’t good for humans, either, and there’s the whole “canary in a coal mine” thing. Also, their livers are less able to handle toxins than humans. There’s a good chance the chickens were permanently harmed by this stunt.

    2. Psychologically, doing this to a parrot would be devastating. A case involving a cockatoo that was dyed for Easter resulted in the bird being put down because it wouldn’t stop ripping out its feathers. Then again, the cockatoo had the intelligence of a two-year old and chickens are pretty dumb. This may not be a big problem.

    3. Torturing animals for amusement is not a healthy sign in a human being. Granted, there’s some doubt been thrown on the Macdonald Triad and serial killer thing. Anyone know if the chicken-spray-painters are pyromaniacs and bed wetters?

  18. spoon
    March 18, 2010 3:48 pm

    can we just combined the 2 comment sections together and talk about “Sex Addicts… Dear God, NOT THE CHICKENS!”

  19. Jess
    March 18, 2010 3:50 pm

    Jen, I’ve tried to be nice but you can quit preaching to me, seriously. For the second time I know how it works. If you must know I don’t buy chicken from the grocery store. I do know people that raise animals and eggs for food. If you live in SW PA look around you, finding a local source of meat and eggs is not exactly mission impossible. I get my eggs from a friend that has a smaller flock of chickens in his yard, for cripe’s sakes.

    BTW to everyone else – if you’ve never had an egg from a chicken that got to just be a chicken and wasn’t living in a dirty cage the size of a shoebox, you really need to find some to try. AMAZING. You won’t look at a grocery store egg the same way again (and the battery hens the store egg probably came from thank you). They really do just taste better.

  20. Bojack
    March 18, 2010 3:59 pm

    Can we please get back to chicken-choking and how to fairly apply the tax (which the city REALLY needs) to women??

    Maybe feminine hygiene products? You know, a rag-tax?


  21. bucdaddy
    March 18, 2010 4:08 pm

    To be fair, there should be a rowin’ the boat tax for women.

  22. Emma
    March 18, 2010 4:11 pm

    *Applauds Rob’s response (7), especially #3*

    I think #3 touches on the deeper issues behind this whole situation.

  23. Pingback: Out « Red Pen Mama

  24. Jen
    March 18, 2010 6:03 pm

    Jess, I do know what “free-range” chickens and eggs taste like. The meat is gamey, the eggs are good. I also know what milk, beef, and lamb from grass-grazed cows and sheep tastes like. The milk tastes like grass, the lamb and beef are pretty damn good. Smoked ham and bacon from a “free-range” pig is out of this world. My mother was born and raised on a sheep ranch out west, which my uncle now owns, and I visit it often.

    I’m sorry if I come across as “preachy,” but I get a little miffed when I hear someone get on a high horse about food. A lot of food considered “free-range” and “cruelty-free” isn’t, and a lot of food produced on a “factory-farm” isn’t so bad.

  25. Rich
    March 18, 2010 6:06 pm

    As a former CMU student, my first reaction to this is that it’s not a prank but rather some senior Art major’s project. Take for example, lobster man:

  26. SpudMom
    March 18, 2010 6:27 pm

    HA! I remember Lobster Boy!!!! I was working for CMU when he did that. Totally awesome.

  27. JJ
    March 18, 2010 6:27 pm

    @ comments 1 to around 40 or so…..

    Frickin hilarious! You guys just made my day!

  28. Jen
    March 18, 2010 7:05 pm

    Rich, I think I recall the frat boys abused lobster boy, too. They invaded his tree house of solitude (he was remaining silent and recording the sounds he made at night, if I recall correctly).

    Although this looks like it might be a frat boy prank, there are other groups on campus known for unorthodox activities who also might be the culprits. KGB and CIA (that’s what they called themselves when I was there) come to mind.

  29. Tiffany
    March 18, 2010 8:09 pm

    Hmm so much for the nice light comment stream. Thanks Emma and Jess.

    My theory on the CMU chickens? Someone took their Farmville obsession a little too far and was trying to “gift” colorful Easter chickens to people on campus.

  30. Rich
    March 18, 2010 8:51 pm


    Yeah, lobster boy was harassed by guys from DU. I know the whole fraternity eventually got kicked off of campus, but not sure why (though all this stuff happened before my time at CMU, I just graduated last May).

    CIA and KGB are still around. This sounds more like a KGB-style prank, though I don’t think they’d be the type to abuse animals.

  31. Pittsburgh Tom
    March 18, 2010 9:51 pm

    If this was a prank, it’s a shame. Everybody knows that cows are the best animals to use in pranks.

    I wonder how many CMU students walked past the chickens when they were loose and paid them no mind? When I was a student there, I saw weirder things on campus that didn’t even phase me.

  32. Jess
    March 19, 2010 8:56 am

    I don’t get on a high horse about many things but animal cruelty is one of them. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

  33. mark
    March 27, 2010 7:12 pm

    These chickens had not eaten for at least a week? and you don’t think witholding food from an animal for SEVEN days is abuse? Geez, maybe we should have you go without food for 7 days and see if you still feel there is nothing wrong with it