Poultry Protection

"Is this America or Nazi Germany?" the man exclaimed.

"You're hardly showing proper respect to the Director of the Poultry Protection Agency, sir," the muscular young man in a wife-beater said menacingly, his fists clinched.

"I'm only saying that I oughtta be allowed to speak my mind. This is America."

The Director of the PPA nodded to the light controller and the bulb over the man's head was turned up to 250 watts.

The Director responded calmly: "Mr. Dalron, no one is saying you can't have your own thoughts, but we can't allow you to write articles promoting the eating of poultry and the use of leather to make footballs. You can hold your narrow-minded views, but the rest of us aren't going back to the dark ages."

"The 1990s were the Dark Ages?" he responded with a sneer.

The Director nodded again and the bulb went to 300 watts. "As a society, Mr. Dalron, we've progressed beyond specieism. Just as we outlawed slavery, we have outlawed the wanton killing of animals for food. Do you want to go back to the old slaughterhouse days when animals were cruelly treated just for purposes of giving us cheap meat?"

"If you recall, I criticized those practices back in the Dark Nineties. They were outrages. But damn it, I like pork chops. I love chicken cordon bleu. I still listen to Jimmy Buffet's song, 'Cheeseburger in Paradise.' I don't think there's anything wrong with eating meat or using leather to make clothes."

"You just don't get it, do you Mr. Dalron. Our society has rejected your old fashioned views."

"How can you say that? Sixty percent of Americans agree with me!"

The Director nodded to the muscle man, who punched Dalron in the gut.

"Polls can't show us what's right and what's wrong, Mr. Dalron. That's why we have the courts, and they have told us that other species are entitled to tolerance and legal protection."

"It's not a closed issue. Your tolerance for the other species has resulted in intolerance! You're intolerant toward people like me with different views about our relationship to the other species."

"Keep your sophistries to yourself, Mr. Dalron," the Director half-yelled, getting angry and nodding emphatically to the muscleman, who laid into Dalron with a combination of blows.

The Director then took out some papers and held them up. "Mr. Dalron, you're going to force me to declare you a habitual offender of hate laws and tolerance legislation. I have some paperwork here from Canada. You apparently spent some time in jail up there in connection with your family's restaurant business. Seems you refused to allow a homosexual couple to hold hands at the table because you think homosexual conduct is wrong." The Director chortled, then continued: "Just as you are now invoking some warped version of free speech today, you invoked the right of free association then. You never learn, do you?"

"That's why I moved to America when I got out of jail. I thought it would be more tolerant of basic freedoms."

"No, Mr. Dalron, we adore our freedoms, but we can't allow them to result in the murder of millions of our fellow creatures. What about the other species' rights?"

"They have no rights! They're animals! We're men. We have the right to eat them!" Dalron screamed. The Director threw his hands up in disgust. Dalron was dragged back to his cell.

Eric Scheske

Eric Scheske