by Dave Lordan
[ fiction - june 08 ]
It was like the parting of the red sea when it happened
It was like a holocaust of an event for the newspapers
Twink speaking about the break-up of her cabaret act to Eamonn Dunphy on RTE radio 1, Oct 2007.
Hi there. Good morning. Welcome. Sorry, but I'm not going to waste much time on introductions. I don't really care what any of your names are right now. I'll be on first name terms with the few of you that want to work alongside me, and whom I decide to take on, soon enough. Besides you all know who I am. I'm Don Hulme. The chicken expert. A chicken guru, no less. I've heard myself referred to over the national airwaves as the Chicken King. I know more about chickens than anybody else on planet Earth. I'm interested in and knowledgeable about everything that has to do with chickens - chicken biology, chicken nutrition, chicken sexual and social interaction, chicken history, chicken cosmology, chicken dream divination, and so on. But today I'm here to talk to you about my new chicken project. I'm here to talk to you about counting chickens, about the Great Global Chicken Count, about the chicken population of the world .
See, for a start, trying to count chickens is one way to find out what's wrong with the world, this topsy-turvy, upside-downy world we live in. Counting chickens teaches us, before we even begin to even talk about counting chickens, that a lot a people we, that's we the global taxpayer, are paying to do a job are not just not doing it. They're just pretending to do it. Believe it or not, there's an organisation out there supposed to be already counting chickens. That's the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, the FAO. They've got an enormous complex, a real hive of a place, brimming over with white collar drones down there in Rome, I think half of Rome works for them. You ever been to Rome? It's horrible. Far too much architecture. Damn fountains everywhere getting in the way of the traffic. It's the world capital of inefficiency and civil servants. Anyway these sweet FAO artists, they've also got billions of dollars of global taxpayers' money to play with. And play with it they do, if the employees retained in the chicken counting department are anything to go by. These far too highly renumerated and superannuated lads and lassies sit on their bee-hinds all day making long distance phone calls to their mirror image bureaucrats in other countries and they ask them how many chickens there are in, say, Burma or Taiwan. And to get a global figure they just tot up these local ones, all provided no doubt by sit-down types just like themselves, by people who have might never have laid eyes on a live chicken and wouldn't know where to look for one if they had to. So by way of white-collar pencil-chewing bum-numbing guesstimation the FAO arrives at a figure that, in my considered professional opinion, is way out, is in fact a gross, and negligent, underestimate of the true global chicken count. It's a count of imaginary chickens, a virtual chicken count. A figure that is all but useless to planners in government and industry. The figure they arrive at is a mere 7.2 billion. 7.2 billion chickens! In our world teeming with non-stop chicken gorging! Yes, that's their figure. Ludicrous. Thank you for laughing. It is laughable, isn't it?
Pause for laughter and reflection. 30 secs to one minute.
My belief is these people are out by a factor of over 200%. That's two-zero-zero. The kind of absurd and downright dangerous miscalculation that would see a dart player stab himself in the nose, or a formula one racer plough straight into the cheering crowd. What a mess. Can you imagine? My belief is that there are in point of fact well over 20 billion chickens in this world. But I can't sell figures to agribusinesses or to agriculture ministries based on what really boils down to raw faith on my part, even if my figures are based on years of touring the chicken outposts of the world, as well as on intimate contact with a whole variety of actual chicken producers who themselves are continuously in direct contact with those ever-evolving real-time chicken populations on the ground. Government and industry need real and constantly updated figures on which to base their estimations. And why is that? Why is that? It's because there's a hell of a lot of money in chickens. A lot of moolah. For one thing knowing exactly how many chickens there are helps to ensure government can substantially raise the amount collected in value added and other chicken-applicable taxes. And getting accurate and up to the minute chicken figures will mean industry will be able to plan on how many more chickens it needs to generate in order to absolutely maximise its returns from the chicken market. I repeat there's a lot of money riding on chickens. Nine figure sums. Billions.
And that money, those billions of dollars per annum that will come with chicken-accuracy is the reason why I'm speaking before this, this here most esteemed and honourable audience today. It's the reason why I've won the support and kind sponsorship of a number of key interests and donors for my chicken-counting project. It's why I'm going to be able to offer a lucky few of you a chance to come along with me on this wonderful journey, a lucky few that will truly be jump-starting their careers- putting themselves on an equal footing financially and experience-wise with executives twenty or thirty years their senior in even the world's best known statistical enterprises. So. Is everybody listening now? Or should I just leave the stage here and go on home? No? You sure? Ok then. Lets get down to brass tacks.
As you can imagine counting the world's chickens isn't an easy task by any means. First off there's the fact that chickens are part of the normal or staple diet almost everywhere across the globe. They're eaten and enjoyed across the five continents; the Chinese, the Congolese, the Kiwis, the English, the Argentinians - they're just some of the populations among whom eating chicken could be almost said to be a national pastime, part of the National Culture, in fact. In fact, you're far more likely to be part of a chicken-eating population than a non-chicken eating population. Chances are if you habituate on planet Earth then you've eaten chicken. In fact it's one of the few things - eating chicken - apart from the physical fundamentals of our species, reproduction, breathing, expiration and so on - that the vast majority of us can be said to have in common. I sometimes think that a well painted or photographed chicken, perhaps a whole roast chicken, crispy golden brown all over, would be a fitting symbol for the United Nations. Do you know what Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt ate a whole lot of at their peace conferences during World War 2? That's right, chicken! Think of all the millions of little disputes and problems that have been ironed out around the family table while enjoying the benefits of eating chicken. It would not surprise me to find- and you can be sure I am searching in what spare time I have- that in some ancient mother language such as Sanskrit that lies at the root of a continent's worth of tongues, that peace and chicken shared the same etymological foundation, were in fact the same word. But I don't want to bore you anymore with what an unkind critic might justifiably point out to be idle speculation and of course we must not offend the substantial minority out there in the world who through choice or otherwise do not eat chicken.
Only two things can prevent a person from eating chicken. The first is ideology. The world's one billion Hindus refuse to eat chicken out of a spiritually motivated vegetarianism, and there are other minor sects, mostly located in Asia, where minor might translate into tens of millions strong, which also prohibit meat or poultry consumption. There are also our politico-moral vegetarians in the west, the organic farming types, western Buddhists and so on, but their numbers are genuinely insignificant as a proportion of the overall population, and are sure to remain so without a total social breakdown, the catastrophic kind that sweeps the loonies into power. Then, as always, there are the poor and the very poor, and the very very poor, also well represented throughout Asia, particularly well represented in Africa, present in large parts of the less developed Americas, with incidences, especially among immigrant populations in what old fogeys and die-hards such as I still refer to as the First World. We can safely assume that many of the 5000 children who unfortunately die daily due to poverty and poverty-related diseases have not eaten much chicken. Suckling infants who pass on to God in advance of solid feeding never even get the opportunity to try chicken. Those communities and populations existing at subsistence level would no doubt view chicken as a rarity and a luxury. It is not difficult to imagine in the context of a subsistence scenario a dispute or argument erupting over the rights to a chicken or parts thereof which are a far more serious echo of the traditional and good-natured jostling in the ordinary household over entitlements to popular chicken portions such as breast and leg. Contemporary chicken disputes and the chicken wars of pre-history are two Phds just waiting for a daring scholar. There are places no doubt even today where blood is spilled, human blood I mean, for the flesh of chicken. Certainly there are places where not only are the bones picked absolutely spotlessly clean but where these very same bones are themselves in turn consumed. Then finally I must mention with great sadness that populations and communities experiencing famine - an absolute lack of nutrition that is - and therefore undergoing drastic demographic adjustment - do not eat chicken due to the obvious lack of access to chicken. Here I should make the point that all famines carry the message of the absent chicken, in the sense that chickens are an efficient as well as easily managed and resourced way to feed the hungry masses of the world. The famous Irish famine of the mid-nineteenth century, the one the Irish themselves refer to as the Great Hunger, was as everyone knows a consequence of the lack of potatoes, but I believe it was also, at a perhaps more fundamental level, about the lack of chickens.
I want to make the obvious point here before we go any further that the sometimes excessive chicken consumption of the chicken consumer in the first world more than makes up for, in terms of the global chicken demographic accounting, and the worldwide chicken business, for the low chicken consumption registered in parts of the third.
Now let's just focus our minds on the almost unfathomable number of chickens by meditating upon how many chickens the average customer, right here in the west that is, would eat in a life time and how that might impact on the numbers we're trying to crunch. You'd be surprised once you start thinking about it how often and in how many ways chicken crops up in your diet. It's far more than even the most chicken-observant among us are likely to have figured. It's not just your twice or thrice weekly helping of fried or roast chicken. Chicken stock for example, the base cooking liquid made from boiling chicken bones, is an ingredient in just about every bowl of home-cooked and quite a lot of caterer-provided or manufactured soups, and not just soups where chicken is the primary or even a named or acknowledged ingredient. That's right - there's probably chicken in your mushroom soup as well. And just think of the variety of ways chicken is presented to us in take-aways and restaurants . Chicken strips, chicken balls, chicken nuggets, chicken kievs, chicken dippers, chicken shapes, chicken burgers and so on. Old time butchers, if you can find one, might offer you such delectables as chicken livers, kidneys and hearts. Chicken, chicken, chicken. Chicken feathers. The only part of the chicken that the chicken people haven't found a use for is chicken souls, and you can be as sure as hell is hot that there's some team of chicken technicians in a chicken lab somewhere putting all there energy and brains into finding a way to make a million on those. But you can see where I'm coming from. There's obviously lots of chickens. Lots more than the average customer, the median person on the street out there, might ever give thought to or suspect.
Pause for reflection. Perhaps suggest an inward or silent private prayer. Up to 1 minute.
Another complication we've got to be mindful of is chicken variety, the different kinds of chickens, and how that might impact on the count and method of counting. So it's now time for us to consider the question of chicken classification. For we must classify in order to count, just as we must count in order to classify. How many kinds of chicken are there? Biologically, there are dozens. Thankfully, however, we are not biologists but live and real-time statisticians. The biological sub-classifications are more an obstacle than an aid to us. We do not want to get mired in the mud of subdivision. Ours is a practical science, not a neurotic-obsessive one. We are against indulgence and for efficiency. We want figures that are useful to government and industry and we have no interest in funding academics just to keep them off the streets and from shitting themselves while babbling their pseudo-intellectual gibberish into Styrofoam cups on street corners. When it comes to providing services to our clients we should ask not what we want to tell them, however excited we are by the instreaming data, but instead follow with professional verve and rigour the line of inquiry of what is it they, our clients, want to know?
Above all the world's most important persons want chickens classified in the order of what chickens do. For what chickens do is a much more important question for industry and government then where a chicken or chickens might have come from, or what particular starins they are descended from or related to. And what these different kinds of chickens do- chicken species-being to warp a phrase drawn from the left wing social sciences- is much the same thing as how us humans use them, basically the same as where it is they fit in along the nexus of human-chicken relations.
It's my contention that we need broad categories into which to sort the world's chickens in terms of how they relate to us, the humans. My method, honed by decades of experience, proposes the following broad function-determined categories:
Meat and egg-laying chickens: These are by far the largest category, running into the double figure billions without a doubt. Those chickens whose existence is simply and directly to provide tasty calorific content for humans. Industry will want to know also how many and what proportion of chickens are cornfed, free range, organically and or traditionally or otherwise alternatively reared and so on. Year on year figures and international market comparisons will be of prime value here. Knowing these proportions will be real advantage to any company trying to predict and act on global chicken market trends. Most of you who I choose to take on will be involved in this, supremely important, census.
Domestic, Family or Pet Chickens: This second category is much smaller, millions, perhaps tens of millions worldwide. Another term might be back-yard, or porch, or even pebble-dash chicken. In the west it has become a quaint custom to keep a chicken or two in an urban setting. This developing custom has come, I think we can safely surmise, as a very welcome surprise for our beloved urban fox. Anyway we all have a cousin or an aunt who derives warm and consoling company from the hen that picks at stones all day long in her pansied garden. Who hasn't sat in a tiled kitchen looking out the window at their little nephews and nieces setting fire to their pet chicken? Also, Chickens kept on farms in many rich countries are there mainly to provide distraction for infants, through they might lay and egg or two as well. (Here we have to make, or rather point out, a distinction with the small scale producer in less affluent economies. He or she may have only as many chickens as children, but they are certainly not pets, rather a vital source of sustenance and income. Indeed this type of producer, depending on cultural and market factors locally, may value their chickens more than their children, particularly if the children are girls.)
Obviously this is a market screaming out for expansion and rationalisation. An advertising campaign could potentially open a huge new market here for chicken entrepreneurs. I already have a Jingle and a slogan CHICKENS - THE LOVE THAT NEVER FLIES. After we have finished counting them, our challenge, and our proposal to industry will be this: Remove infertile, ill, or otherwise unproductive chickens from the processing chain and, instead of destroying them or selling them on at cut price to a glue factory or developing world producer, repackage them forthwith as friendly, loyal, and, most importantly, fashionable companions from the animal kingdom. As an aside I think there's possibly a pink economy potential in this proposal , chickens being roughly similar in size, though not, it has to be said, in manner, to the under-arm poodles Gay men seem to adore as accessories. Anyway our role will be to create the market here, and then let the market itself decide.
Exciting isn't it? I tell you it makes my nipples harden. Like I'm frosting from the inside. Delicious. Lick-lippingly so!
Wild Chickens: Well I knew this one would draw a guffaw or three. Who has ever heard of wild chickens? It's true, the chickens we know have grown completely dependent on human beings for shelter and food. They would not last a day without us. But two chicken tribes survive in the wild, one lasting all the way since the era of the primitive commune, the other drawn from the far more recent age of the hippy commune. Let's call them Cro-Magnon chicken and Free Love chicken. Cro-Magnon can be found in its age-old natural state on the Hawaian islands, relics of an ancient population, allowed to survive due to the continuing of observance of a primitive prohibition on eating them. According to the locals the chickens are born out of the cooling smoke and tar of volcanic eruptions and to kill them invites destruction by the God of Fire. In the case of these chickens we can see how holiness, or simply the denomination of holiness, has truly provided a path to eternity. We want to enumerate these stone-age chickens and then to study, keeping the requirements of industry foremost in our minds, the genetic inheritance.
Free love chickens roams the scrub in the hinterland of Seattle, Washington State, escapees from a CIA experiment there in the 1950's that the esteemed agency has never gotten around to recapturing, being busy with the defence of human freedom. Now my company is offering to round these ones up and, humanely, perform a cull, keeping a few select specimens breeding as zoo specimens down the line. The price of an animal rises at an exponential rate as its species approaches extinction. But oops!! I shouldn't have let that slip. Never mind.
Liberated/Runaway/Escapee/Fugitive/Utopian/Guerrilla/Insurgent/Partisan/Terrorist/ Freedom-loving Chickens: A tiny number of these exist. Hardly reaching into the thousands overall. The population is mostly made up of chickens, and descendants of chickens, stolen from large battery farms by militant animal rights activists and then released into remote woodland or mountaintop areas. It could be argued that these anachronisms are hardly worth counting since they will not even total close to the margin of error for the overall count. But rounding them up will show the world how serious we are and how thoroughly we mean business when it comes to the absolute one hundred per cent proof accuracy of our figures.
The job of counting these will be best suited to those of you who have a background in private security operations as survivalist techniques may well be called into play on prolonged missions and armed conflict with these chickens' extremist abductors a likelihood. Hands up, anyone?
Slight pause, a few seconds, a sup of water and/or a few deep breaths. Remember - do not grimace, do not poke or scratch at your crotch.
I want to take a slight detour here that might please those of you interested in what might be provisionally termed the Homo-poetics of chicken cosmology. There is a chicken creation myth which plays with and highlights the mismatch between chicken desire and chicken capacity, that is the great and melancholy chasm that stretches out between what chickens dream of doing and what they are actually able to achieve. It is a shadow-myth of the Christian myth of the fall and was known to have been considered for inclusion by Milton in an early draft of his canonical Paradise Lost. The myth tells of a battalion of Angels who, in the civil war between God and Satan, elected to enlist on the side of the Evil one. These Angels were tall, limber and proud, and were particularly renowned for their flying skills. They were so fast and dexterous on the wing that Satan used them as bait for the weapons of God's armies at the outset of some of the great set-piece battles of the ancient heavenly civil war that all but rent the sky above in two. As soon as the two vast angelic armies were lined up to face each other and the bugling and stomping in anticipation of the coming clash of arms was in loud and clanging motion on both sides, Satan would order his ace battalion to fly straight at his opponent's front line in imitation of a daredevil, though surely suicidal charge. Sure enough thousands upon thousands of burnished Angel spears and angel arrows would be let fly to rain down death at speed of light upon the charge. But Satan's fliers, turning and darting like slick little fish beneath the ocean waves would dodge every single tip and blade, howling with dark satanic laughter as all the arrows and spears whizzed uselessly past into the void. Thus would Satan gain an advantage through the wasting of a goodly proportion of the arsenal of the Lord. And since this tactic was a classic military catch-22 for the God-side who had to choose between loss of armour and a possible breach of their line, Satan could and did use it and gain from it again and again.
In the end however, as everyone knows, God will not be toyed with or outsmarted. The Great One ordered a band of his own trusted angels to place a very finely spun and transparent adhesive net, as might be spun by a cosmically gigantic spider or Tarantula, at a safe distance from his own front line in advance of what was to prove the final cataclysmic battle. True to form, Satan launched his malevolent fliers and they sped out darkly towards the holy ranks like a flotilla of shark-faced torpedoes, murder in their bared teeth and hatred at their their wing-tips. But in the arrogance and glee of their thus-far triumphant malice they failed to take the minimum precaution of sending on a scout to check or at least set off mines and booby-traps, and so one by one they whoomphed into the gluey web and were trapped and captured. With great fanfare and triumphant whooping a rank of Godly Angels came forward to further fold and enwrap the whining and protesting demons. They were then rolled into a giant sticky ball and pushed through the jeering gauntlet of God's army to be spat at, kicked and abused on their way towards the court of our Lord to be judged. For Satan, the embarrassing ease with which these supposedly unapprehendable sprites were fooled and apprehended was to prove a fatal reverse in terms of the morale of his legions. For as they watched the spectacle of the humiliation of Satan, from his vantage point behind the lines, could see the disappointment and despair pass through his armies like a wave, as one by one their spears and axes fell limply to their sides and their once-proud wings began to droop and sag. Before the devil-ranks had time to raise their spirits or their spears again God had ordered his angel-cavalry to charge. Satan's armies were bloodily and completely routed within the day, while balance and order were returned to the cosmos.
Passing judgment on the unholy fliers later that day, Our Lord told them that they would be allowed to keep their wings, but only as a sign of the misuse they had put them to. Their souls were unworthy to take the form of angels and from now on their immortal forms would have to pass into existence clothed as birds, as flightless birds, as chickens. They would dream of flying, they would want nothing more than to be able to fly, they would spend their whole lives trying to fly, but they would never ever get off the ground and would exist in a constant state of bitter agitation at not being able to fly. Moreover they would be the slaves and fodder of the lowly race of humans, and thus the laughing stock and fodder of the entire cosmos.
So every chicken has the soul of a vanquished angel, and when we see a chicken's squawking and fruitless attempt to go airborne what we are actually witnessing is the shattering spirit of a higher being brought low by a mighty power way beyond our knowing.
Pause for reflection. Do not grimace or scratch your head or balls or asshole.
There are two further methodological problems that have to be taken on board by a chicken enumerator like myself- first the lack of statistics from the more underdeveloped parts of the world, and from within the limits of what are known as the world's hot spots and trouble spots. There are parts of the world, believe it or not, where even bureaucrats and statisticians fear to tread. And as the world map is going through a particularly intense bout of Acne at the moment, it's covered in bright red pus-filled spots, there are quite a few of these no-go areas for chicken census gatherers like myself. We are left to make do with estimates based on what is already known about chicken populations in these unfortunate areas who I won't shame by naming, but you all know the kinds of damned places I'm talking about. As a general rule of thumb though we can say that the intensity of conflict is in inverse proportion to the number of chickens, starting from the premise that in the most intense kind of conflict ie nuclear conflict, there are no chickens left at all.
From our point of view it is chickens, not truth, that is the first casualty of war.
And then there is slightly less troubling but no less statistically complicating problem of chicken lifespan. Many industry reared chickens last only six to eight weeks before ending up on the table or in a freezer. So there are quite different figures for how many chickens are alive on any single day in the calendar, and for how many chickens have been alive at some stage over the course of an entire calendar year. Also it is obvious that there are daily variations, more pronounced at weekends, and significant seasonal fluctuations around the spikes in poultry consumption at certain large communal festivals. These obviously must be taken account of when calculating the present chicken population of the world. This is getting into what we might call the micro-physics of chicken demographics. Keeping in mind that the global chicken rearing and chicken slaughtering industries are truly 24-7 we can say that there isn't a single instant of earthly time when unknown thousands of chickens are both being born and being killed, passing in and out of being along production lines all over the planet. Therefore we must conclude that there are different figures for chicken population worldwide for every minute, nay every second, of every day of every year of our lives. This is the chicken demographers version of the particle-wave problem. Which means that the closer we get to observing chicken figures accurately the more we are confronted with their essential instability. We will never be able to say with true scientific accuracy how many chickens there are because that figure is in the constant throes of ceaseless change, as if the earth were englobed in a Heraclitean cascade of chickens, a veritable foaming waterfall of flightless fowl.
No two instants can ever be said to be the same when it comes to the chicken population of the world. No sirree, When it comes to counting chickens you can't even step into the same river once!
The difficulty this causes is simply that, for practical reasons, most usable statistics are collated on an annual bases. But as we have seen the majority of chickens don't have years, they don't even last the length of a season. There is no way we can keep a constant eye on fluctuations in chicken population throughout the year, however desirable that might be. No government, or international institution, in existence today is going to want to fund the kind of permanent standing army of chicken counters this would require. And it's not just the costs I'm talking about here. You can imagine the reaction from the spider-tally men and the starfish-counters, to name just two particularly loud, not to say loutish groups, if this were to happen. I know. Ha Ha. But they do exist, and can be rougher than a bunch of drunken Scottish scrum halves in a brothel when it comes to competing for funding. Petitions and pickets all round no doubt. But we, the united chicken-counters of the world, do not have to close ranks and take on the oiks just yet. At the moment we can and must make do with just what we have. Though if we ever really want to know the whole truth of chicken figures a standing army of chicken-counters is just what we will have to have.
Pause for reflection. Smiling permitted. Up to one minute. Then let the fucking cat out...
I have decided that I am going to finish off my little recruitment speech here by letting you all in on a - I was going to say little, but no - on an enormous secret. Are you listening? I thought so. Nothing grabs an audience like gossip. The secret is this - I am Mary McAleese's lover. Ha Ha. No. It's this. I killed Kennedy! No seriously it's this - The day of absolute accuracy is not so far off and the difficulties of enumeration not so insuperable as the sad and onerous reflections above might lead us to believe.
I am so very pleased to be able to announce to you today - you will no doubt admit your privilege at being the first to hear of this prodigious project, and to share in the honour and wonder of being among the first to peep through the pearly, angel-guarded gates of the future. I am so very pleased to be able to tell you that I, at the head of an international alliance of esteemed chicken personages drawn from an admixture of agribusiness, governmental and intergovernmental organisations and top-ranking universities, am drawing up the outlines of a groundbreaking proposal that will allow us to propose the genetic modification of the chicken species in order to ensure complete accuracy of the chicken census at all times. Yes!! Unbelievable, I know. Unbelievable but at the same time incredibly true. How will this almost mythically complicated and wondrous task be achieved? Through science my friends. Science and alliance. Through a coming together of the best minds in medicine, genetics, nanoscience and satellite construction. It is neither the time nor the place to reveal the intimate details of the project but I will grant you the broad outline, so keep your ears pricked a while. The project will, relevant contexts and situations allowing, be ready to be launched within five years. It will involve three phases. Birth, death and resurrection. Oh the grandeur of it! ( I would love to talk to you more here about the Christian message that chickens carry, about the easter egg and so on, but time squawks on and the clock, whatever about the cock, is against us). In phase one we will design and grow from laboratory cultures a new improved industry-ready chicken capable of reproducing itself industrially in industrial conditions. A shortcut in evolution, bypassing millions of years of time-wasting development - the next best thing to a time machine my friends! These new chickens, sans feathers of course, will be immune to all known chicken diseases. They will have no guts and no assholes, so the huge problem of chicken-shit and its disposal will be over. They will be able to go from egg to table-ready maturity within 72 hours and will have a gestation period of just 16 minutes. Finally they will have hardwired into their genetic make up infinitesimal signaling devices designed to transmit signals at intervals of precisely on second throughout every chicken's short, but pain free, life. The creation of this new chicken will mark the end of the birth phase.
Death, as is only logical, will follow birth. In the death phase the world's now outmoded population of existing chickens will be, humanely I must emphasise, eradicated. One of the eradication methods currently under investigation is the introduction into the existing chicken population of a wind and flea borne disease that will sterilise chickens without affecting their meat quality or crossing the species barrier. Gassing and pyres, though distasteful, are not to be altogether discounted either, though the media side of this will have to be very well managed. It is likely a variety of methods will be required to bring this phase to a successful conclusion.
To ensure that there is not let up in chicken production, or loss of income or profits, phase three, resurrection, will be phased in along with phase two, death, so that the new chickens will be available immediately to replace the old. Public tenders will be opened to companies who wish to compete for the contact for this massive distribution phase which, in tandem with the eradication programme, is scheduled to last eight to ten years with a maximum cut-off date of May 2025.
Thereafter a string of already-existing satellites orbiting the earth will relay information on every single living and/or dying chicken to a network of counting stations here on planet earth. Counters will be guaranteed continued employment in these stations should they wish to take it up.
All of this will result in the creation of a live chicken graph from which it will be possible to know with complete accuracy the current chicken population of the world and to observe, in precise and real-time detail, the fluctuations of that population on a second by second basis. Money will pour in from companies and ministries obsessed with having the latest chicken figures. We'll be true originals and everything will be patented, guaranteeing an income from the other industries who are sure to be stampeding after us to follow our format. The whole thing will pay for itself in no time. It's absolutely wonderful isn't it? Its blooming chickendipidous, to coin a phrase. Chicken - glorious, to coin another. Wahey! I could go on.
But to return in all seriousness to the matter in hand, and to conclude today's talk I would like to put to you, my audience, the pointed query that Jim Morrison once put to his - who among you will run with the hunt?
End. Stand Straight, hands by side. Taking the warm applause. Bow once. Three times at most. Then go.