Ed Driscoll

Chicken Run

“1,150 chickens will fly the coop to New York thanks to anonymous benefactor,” according to the London Guardian (yes, I know, but the story made it to our local CBS news radio station, so whether or not it’s true, it’s got legs. And beaks. And wings):

Thousands of Californian hens have escaped being gassed after an anonymous donor provided $50,000 for some of them to be flown across the US on a charter flight to a happy retirement on the east coast.

The hens, who have reached the end of their egg-laying life, were due to be killed – a common practice in the US.

But after an approach from the Animal Place sanctuary in northern California, 3,000 of them will enjoy a comfortable retirement instead. Thanks to an unnamed benefactor, 1,150 of them will be flown to New York to be distributed to sanctuaries in the eastern US.

“It’s certainly the first time this many adult birds have been flown across the country,” said Marji Beach, education director at Animal Place.

Commercial airlines would not accept the 1,150-chicken load, which is why the group had to turn to a private jet company. Beach said the jet company did not seem shocked by the request.

But shouldn’t the far left Guardian be shocked? It claims that “This batch of two-year-old rescued hens is expected to live two to four more years on these farms.” But at what cost to the polar bears? Recall back in 2009, moments before the “Hide the Decline” scandal upended the hermetically-sealed world of global warming doomsday alarmists, when the Guardian was convinced that excessive air travel was going to cause polar bears to drop from the skies:

Plane Stupid’s ad, which breaks in cinemas and online today, features dozens of animated polar bears falling from the sky onto a city centre, bouncing off skyscrapers and landing in the street and on the roof of a car, accompanied by blood-spurting special effects.

The only sound, apart from the bone-crunching thump of the impacts, is the steadily increasing whine of a jet airliner’s engines.

Plane Stupid’s campaign, developed by the ad agency Mother, aims to show the impact that global warming is having on polar ice caps.

The group is aiming to point out that even short flights to the continent have a major impact on carbon emissions. Plane Stupid said that the ad was inspired by the fact that an average European flight produces 400kg of carbon, which it claims is the same weight as an average female polar bear.

“We wanted to confront people with the impact that short-haul flights have on the climate,” said Robert Saville, a director at Mother. “We used polar bears because they are a well understood symbol of the effect that climate change is having on the natural world.”

 Two years earlier, the Guardian reported that a self-hating tourism guide publisher wanted to effectively ban tourism and what he feverishly dubbed “binge flying:”

Mark Ellingham has made a sizeable fortune from the creation of the Rough Guides to almost everywhere. He is shortlisted for the Royal Society’s prize for science writing, for his book The Rough Guide to Climate Change.

Now, in a conversion that would command the admiration of St Paul, he declares that “binge flying” constitutes a huge threat to the global environment. “If the travel industry rosily goes ahead as it is doing, ignoring the effect that carbon emissions from flying are having on climate change, we are putting ourselves in a very similar position to the tobacco industry.”

He readily admits the irony that he, of all people, should articulate such a warning. He appeals for moderation, for setting some limits on our insatiable appetite for travel: “We now live in a society where, if people have nothing to do on a Saturday night, they go to Budapest for 48 hours. We fly anywhere at the slightest opportunity, 10 times and upwards a year. This needs to be addressed with the greatest urgency.”

But not before we airlift elderly chickens cross-country. But as Mark Steyn once wrote, regarding the intense misanthropy of doomsday environmentalists, “The ecochondriacs mean it: This’d be a pretty nice planet if we didn’t live here.” Presumably, that worldview should apply to the chickens as well, lest we risk, as Dr. Johnny Fever would say, the Pinedale Shopping Mall being bombed by giant polar bears:

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Seriously though — or about as seriously as either of these stories warrant, I thought goofy far left global warming doomsday mongering trumped goofy far left animal rights wackoism. Who will be the winner of this Orwellian Animal Farm-style battle of the primitivists, the polar bears or the chickens?