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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.

Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Goodwill Machine

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The Truth Behind The Hrithik-Kangana Spat

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Hello, My Name Is Sri Sri

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Lament For Another World

Mike Klein of, reporting on the US Chess Championships, went around asking the participants about Prince. When I spoke…

National Highway 420 (and the EV of Aggressive Batting)

Before this IPL started, a friend of mine, who shall go unnamed, called me up. Friend: Amit, you have such…

05 May, 2009

Statues Of Chickens

I suspect even a chicken would find this news item rather WTF:

Animal rights body PETA on Monday asked civic authorities of major cities in the country to install a statue of chicken [sic] in prominent locations as “a mark of respect to billions of birds killed for food”.

“Erecting a chicken statue will elevate these bright, inquisitive birds in the minds of residents, perhaps convincing many to help by leaving chicken off their plates,” PETA’s chief functionary Anuradha Sawhney said in a letter to civic authorities of all major cities.

Ms Sawhney has appeared once before in my WTF files, speaking about chickens and free will, but this takes the cake. Or the chicken pie. Whatever.

Also, I demand to know, why not statues of cows? Cows aren’t “bright” and “inquisitive”? Cows don’t deserve respect? Cows are not our mother?


This reminds me of how Leo Tolstoy once called an aunt to dinner, and left a live chicken on her chair. “We knew you wanted chicken,” he said, “but none of us would kill it.”

I find that sentiment inspiring—most of us carnivores disassociate the food we eat from the animals that have to die for it, and if we had to kill our own food, I’m not sure many of us would quite manage. As Michael Pollan once said, “The most morally troubling thing about killing chickens is that after a while it is no longer morally troubling.” I respect that sentiment—and indeed, once turned vegetarian for a few months inspired by such thoughts. (I still feel guilt at relapsing into meat-eating.)

But statues of chickens? Presumably built using taxpayers’ money? Bats, completely bats.


If I was God and could rewind and edit, I’d have Tolstoy keep a cow on his aunt’s chair instead of a chicken. And as she stares at it in horror, he says, “We knew you wanted beef, but none of us would kill the cow.” Then he gives her a lecture on vegetarianism.

And when he’s done, the cow walks up to him and starts chewing his beard.

(PETA link via separate emails from Deepak Iyer and Sudipta Chatterjee. Previous posts on cows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 , 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110.)

Posted by Amit Varma in News | WTF

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