Today's "Subject on the Block" would be Perdue Farms and I would offer up a scathing example of commercial slight-of-hand, along with a rant about how our food is manufactured and how the animals that provide that food are treated.
However, I have a soft spot in my heart for Perdue because I connect their commercials with a warm memory from my past.
Some of you may recall one of the old, old Perdue Chicken commercials -- we're talking back when Frank Perdue was schilling for the company instead of his son Jim. This old commercial featured people reacting to the paragon that apparently was a Perdue chicken back then (they were certainly more...um...chicken-sized...).
One of the testimonials was an elderly woman, who threw up her hands and, in a universally recognizable New York accent, exclaimed, "God bless you, Mistah Puh-doo!"
My grandmother thought that was the funniest commercial she'd ever seen. If we had chicken for dinner, you could bank on my grandmother somehow working a "God bless you, Mistah Puh-doo!" into the conversation and then laughing like we hadn't heard this 253 times before.*
So, for old times sake I will limit my tirade against Perdue Farms to this:
You know that Perdue commercial where Jim Perdue brags that his chickens are not caged?
The fact is that only laying hens are caged. Perdue raises meat chickens who never were caged to begin with. He's not doing the chickens a favor -- he's spinning the treatment that already exists as an industry standard.
Meat chickens are crammed into long, poorly ventilated buildings where they are bred to have breasts so large they can barely stand and the ones that can stand trample the ones that can't. So the ones that can't live out their brief lives sitting in their own filth until they are thrown by those self-same broken legs into a truck to take them to slaughter.
Now Perdue is not the only company that does this -- all the large commercial poultry processors do the same thing; only they have the decency to not make holier-than-thou claims about it.
We are not stupid, Mistah Puh-doo!
*She also liked to get up in the morning, shuffle around and mutter, "Gotta go make the donuts..." like the old Dunkin' Donuts commercial. She would do it until everyone in the house had seen it. Do you know how many people were in our house sometimes? You'd see the performance eight or nine times if you were up early enough. Believe me -- it gets old...