Apparently This Matters: A rough month for chickens

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it flew out of an overturned truck in Oregon this month!

Story highlights

  • A truck carrying more than 5,000 chickens crashed in Salem, Oregon
  • PETA tried to erect a memorial statue for the chickens
  • Oregon Department of Transportation denied the statue
  • Also? A chicken foot in your pack of breasts

It's been a rough month for chickens.

Not that there's ever an especially good month when your only job on this planet is to sit around, get fat and occasionally pop out eggs.

It's kind of like living your entire life as a "Honey Boo Boo" cast member. But with a shred of dignity.

This particular rough month actually started trending two weeks ago when, early in the morning on July 9, a truck carrying more than 5,000 chickens overturned in downtown Salem, Oregon. Sadly, many of the poor little cluckers died. Others, perhaps stunned from the crash, just wandered aimlessly about the streets, suddenly free from captivity. Which must've been remarkably weird.

"Gertrude, is this heaven?"

"No. It's Salem."

The story quickly found its way around the Interwebs because, really, it has all the makings of must-see news.

Was there a big crash? Yes. Was there negligence involved? Possibly. Did hundreds of live animals on a roadway have to be rounded up by humans. Abso-freakin-lutely!

"Apparently This Matters" Is Jarrett Bellini's weekly (and somewhat random) look at social-media trends.

It was gold.

But just when the Salem truck story seemed to go away -- as oddball stories eventually do -- it magically came roaring back. All thanks to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

In response to the crash, the organization proposed a 5½-foot-tall, 250-pound statue of a giant bloody chicken on crutches, memorializing the hundreds that perished in the crash. PETA hoped it could stand at the intersection near where the accident happened to alert livestock truckers to be extra careful and to remind motorists that "chickens are among the most abused animals on the planet."

PETA spokeswoman Shakira Croce added that "the best way to prevent crashes like this is to go vegan so that chickens don't have to make the trip to the slaughterhouse in the first place."

Personally, I love the idea. Mind you, not because of my politics -- when it comes to such matters, I have no opinion. But I do love absurd landmarks. And every city needs something delightfully wackadoo.

Like a big chicken.

Oddly enough, we actually have a big chicken right here in Atlanta's northern suburb of Marietta. We call it ... the Big Chicken.

The huge structure stands 56 feet high, rising into the air from a KFC. So, in a sense, it, too, is a monument to dead chickens. Dead chickens coated with 11 herbs and spices.

The best part about Marietta's Big Chicken is that people actually use it as a directional landmark.

Metro Atlantans are really proud of Marietta's famous Big Chicken. It's pretty amazing.

"Make a left at the Big Chicken. Go one block up. And you'll find me on the sidewalk. I'll be the one not wearing pants."

So it's helpful. And I've actually seen it used in serious news stories. This is a real excerpt from a 2009 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"A Marietta police officer involved in a two-car accident Saturday afternoon is fine, according to police officials. The incident occurred around 3:25 p.m. at Cobb Parkway and Roswell Road in front of the Big Chicken."

Naturally, if you didn't know about the landmark, reading this would blow your mind.

"That must've been one crazy-ass chicken."

Unfortunately, PETA's Bloody Chicken of Salem statue was officially shot down this week by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Kevin Hottman, a city traffic engineer, noted that it's a congested area and the statue "would be a distraction and possibly a hazard."

So, now, chickens in Salem will just have to live in constant fear of another roadside tragedy while they're on their way to get slaughtered.

And speaking of chicken slaughter, there was another story that started trending this week. It was about an Arizona woman who found a chicken foot in a package of breast meat from Safeway.

The disgusted shopper tweeted, "Hey, @Safeway, does this look like 'chicken breast' to you? I'm vomiting."

Chicken foot mixed in with breasts - in other countries, this counts as a bonus.

Despite the Internet chastising the woman for overreacting, Safeway nevertheless confirmed that the chicken foot was real and issued a statement saying, "While the part does not pose a health risk, we are investigating how it became packaged in with our product."

And then the ghost of the chicken issued its own statement:

"I'm incredibly sorry that my severed foot somehow ended up in the same package as my severed breast. I know that must've been unsettling. PS: My head is in a landfill."

Yep. It's been a rough month for chickens.

Follow Jarrett Bellini on Twitter.

      Apparently This Matters...

    • Book It turns 30

      I vaguely recall Pizza Hut's Book It elementary school reading incentive program. Though, to be fair, I vaguely remember what I had for breakfast.
    • Amputated leg lamp

      It took a lot of effort for Leo Bonten to turn his amputated leg into a fully functional lamp. For starters, he had to break the damn thing in a freak kiddie pool accident.
    • Slipping on banana peels

      If you asked me -- and God knows nobody has -- I would have to guess that never in the history of humankind has anyone ever actually slipped on a banana peel.
    • Russian space sex geckos

      Since the beginning of time, man has looked up into the cosmos at those shiny, twinkling stars and thought, "I wonder if lizards would do each other up there?"
    • A hybrid of zebra and a donkey stands at the Taigan zoo park outside Simferopol on August 5, 2014. A Crimean zoo has welcomed into its collection a "zebroid" or "zonkey" after a zebra gave birth following befriending a donkey. Named Telegraph by the keepers at the Taigan zoo park, his head and body resemble that of a donkey and are a solid beige colour, with his legs marked by black zebra stripes. Born last week, "Telegraph is very popular with visitors" who can watch him romping around with his mother, said director Oleg Zubkov. Crosses between zebras and other members of the equine family are not unheard of, although it is more unusual that the zebra is the mother. However allowing such breeding to occur is frowned upon in the zoo community. YURI LASHOV/AFP/Getty Images

      Congratulations! It's a ... zonkey?

      Despite all the political tension in Crimea, it's nice to know things are still safe enough at the zoo for a zebra to get it on with a donkey.
    • French Girls gone wild

      There's a famous scene in the movie "Titanic" where Rose turns to Jack and says, "I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."
    • Facebook bracelets at Tomorrowland

      For several months in 2003, I did the whole European backpacker thing. Which is to say I've seen nearly every cathedral within 1,000 square miles of the Danube.
    • Death metal without oxygen

      The other day I saw a death metal band hanging out by their tour van in the parking lot behind a club. They were all dressed in black, and may or may not have been working on lyrics to a new song about fire and lamb meat.
    • My Kids Suck

      There are two good reasons to own a giant trampoline.
    • Weed Fairy leaves free pot

      I never actually caught a glimpse of the Tooth Fairy when I was young, but she was definitely real and in cahoots with my mom. This, due to the fact that I never woke up to find a Nintendo.