Humanity Lost: 357 wings and a prayer

United Poultry Concerns

Nothing succeeds like excess. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that “professional eating” is considered a sport.

Major League Eating is the world body that oversees all professional eating contests. The organization, which developed competitive eating and includes the sport’s governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, helps sponsors to develop, publicize and execute world-class eating events in all variety of food disciplines. Major League Eating

“All variety of food disciplines” includes wings, hotdogs, ribs, and bratwurst. Roast beef sliders, shrimp, whole turkey, and beef tongue. Lobsters, crab cakes, brats, and burritos. Spam, oysters, and Rocky Mountain oysters. (Official records here.) It’s said that if you build it, they will come. Apparently it’s also true that if you offer the contest, they will gorge.

Today’s paper brings results of the 10th annual National Buffalo Wings Contest, wherein the first place winner (bio and accomplishments here) consumed 183 wings in 12 minutes, while the runner-up ate 174. It’s enough to make you sick–on several levels.

The poster: A screaming cartoon chicken in a barrel labeled “blue cheese” is about to be swept over Niagara Falls. A rowboat is in hot pursuit, carrying three maniacal humans: a red-eyed chef wielding a cleaver; an open-mouthed woman brandishing fork and knife; and a man, tongue lolling, grasping a bottle of hot sauce. Unlike “suicide food,” this chicken is attempting to flee the impending carnage…and contest. Sick.

The suffering. Yeah, just imagine the heartburn. The acid reflux. That loosen-your-belt bloated feeling. The stomach ache, gas, and intestinal turmoil. Pepto-Bismol is a Major League Eating event sponsor. “‘I often feel nauseous or have indigestion when I overeat, let alone when I eat 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes,” said Joey Chestnut, current reigning champion of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. “It’s great Pepto-Bismol has us covered…’” Yeah, it’s great to be born in a wealthy, developed nation (rather than someplace like, say, Somalia) where food made of exploited animals can be squandered in gross, meaningless, commercial contests. Sicker.

The SUFFERING. The top two competitors crammed 357 wings between them. Put in terms of sentient beings, that’s 178-and-a-half sacrificial chickens. Let’s round down–we’ll assume that “half chicken” is one of the many “broilers” who doesn’t survive the living hell required to go from chick to styrofoam tray–the 45 day “life” they endure suffering skeletal collapse, ammonia burns, blindness, and respiratory disease in factory farms. Two gluttonous humans striving for an absurd title, and one-hundred and seventy-eight lives lived in pain, darkness, and despair. Still, what kind of spoil-sport crank would harp on animal suffering at this all-American, competitive event? Just check out last year’s wing-eating contest video–bringing us to: sickest.

Three-hundred and fifty-seven wings…and a prayer. A prayer, perhaps, for those 178 individual chickens plus eight billion who suffer in darkness and die in our factory farms each year? Sure. But it’s our species that needs to see the light, so let’s save this prayer for humans. Let’s pray that our humanity be restored.

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