Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

… well, because she was flung there when the tractor-trailer that was carrying her and hundreds of her sisters rolled over in the middle of downtown Salem.


No, really. An entire semi-truck full of Foster Farms chickens tipped over in the middle of Salem today, and chickens (and chicken manure) were everywhere.

The driver was fine – but about half of the chickens on the trailer weren’t so fortunate. Other photos that were provided by the Statesman Journal (www.statesmanjournal.com) showed the aftermath and the cleanup effort which lasted well into the afternoon hours even though the crash occurred early this morning.

Apparently, speed may have been a factor in the accident and the load seems to have shifted, causing the truck to tip onto its side – sending the cages that the chickens were being carried in tumbling across the road – breaking open scattering live chickens and corpses everywhere.

All photos credit Zach Urness (Statesman Journal)

Foster Farms issued the following statement:


This morning, a Foster Farms contracted trailer truck transporting chickens was involved in an accident on Commercial Street in downtown Salem, Ore. The driver is in good condition but was transported to a local hospital as a precaution. No other people were involved in the accident. The driver works for a hauling company contracted by Foster Farms, she is not a Foster Farms employee. We are cooperating fully with local police as they investigate the accident. The birds are being hand-collected and per USDA regulation, any fatalities are disposed of and do not enter the food supply.

We are committed to the safety of live poultry during transport and have maintained an exemplary safety record. We regret that the accident occurred and promptly took steps to rectify the situation.

I don’t know this for certain, but it seems they were likely shipping chickens from their Canby, Oregon production plant and I can only assume that these birds were on their way to becoming Corn Dogs in the Corvallis, Oregon Corndog processing plant.

The people of Salem have been quick to jump on the “EWW!! LOOK AT THAT! How could you show pictures of dead chickens?!?” bandwagon on the Statesman Journal’s comments section, like they don’t have a clue that that small piece of Foster Farms chicken breast that they have with their health conscious lunch – once looked like one of those white birds in the streets of Salem. (Granted – likely less contorted and lying in the middle of the street…)

We have taught Thing 1 and Thing 2 from early on where their food comes from. I fish, I hunt, we keep chickens – and it’s important to me that they understand that when we have meat, in order for them to eat, something else had to die, and not to take that for granted, and not to be wasteful.

Sadly – this was horribly wasteful, and yet another reason why I would desperately like to see us utilize less large scale agriculture, and switch over to more numerous family farms, backyard flocks to sustain the family, or at least use sustainable agricultural practices such at those at Polyface Farms and the numerous echoes of their strategy to produce for these large scale operations.

At the same time – we have to put our money where our wishes lie. This goes right back to what we talked about with Monsanto. We are getting what we pay for. Every time I give in and buy a corn dog – I’m voting with my dollars to continue this type of large scale agricultural practice… we as consumers have to be willing to stand up for what we believe in not just in words but in actions.

So why did the chicken cross the road – it seems that she didn’t really have much of a choice…

… Good thing we do.


5 thoughts on “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

  1. I have been totally shocked by how far removed from where food comes from people have gotten. I have encountered fast food junkies who are vehemently opposed to hunting because it involves killing animals… Ummmm, hello, where do you think that burger you eat twice a day came from? A happy cow that died of old age peacefully in the middle of a flowery meadow?! Incidentally when my mom explained where beef came from to me when I was about 5, I decided I did not want to eat cows, which stood for about the next 20 years of my life, including the whole time I lived at home. I like to think that my non-beef eating may have extended my parents’ lives a few years, but golly they were sure good sports for going along with me (lucky for me they were retired hippie types and were already using ground turkey instead of beef way before that was normal lol). The meat eating husband and I have achieved an excellent balance recently involving less meat eating, but much better quality meat eating (we try to get as much meat from Saturday market as we can fit in the budget), along with some non meat meals. After watching Food Inc. (while being pregnant) I got a little crazy about where my meat comes from. As far as commercial meat goes, I think Foster Farms is quite a bit less bad than a lot of others, but inherently, meat production on that scale is just not ideal.

    • Agreed – we’ve never really done the full vegetarian thing, but we have limited our meat intake quite a bit of late. We have friends who raise grass fed cattle, so we’re looking at picking up a half or quarter cow this next year.

      And you’re right – Foster Farms is SIGNIFICANTLY better than most.

  2. The chicken in that last photo looks nothing like any of my chickens. It doesn’t look like a proper chicken at all. Poor thing looks deformed, but I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose.

    • They definitely breed them for optimal production. We had a friend who had this same variety of birds – primarily as meat birds, and the way that they grow, they grow so quickly they can’t hardly walk.

      Compared to our backyard birds – ours are so lean, they almost look jungle-y. (That’s not a word, but it works)

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