Chickens Free Range

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Drawing the reader’s attention with clever devices, Jo Smith’s piece, ‘Chickens Range Free’, was written in January 2007, in response to the illegal release of poultry on its way to a meat-processing factory. It was published on a website and in Melbourne’s newspaper. It is Smith’s clear contention that the activist’s actions were necessary and required. Smith appeals to numerous emotions in the reader, including righteousness, pity, guilt, fear, and self-interest. While emotion is her main device, she presents her own position as formal as possible. Smith aspires to promote a sense of guilt to her audience. By the use of the inclusive language ‘we’, Smith implies that ‘someone’ of the opening paragraph, must have been ‘you’, the reader. This encourages the reader to feel guilty for the chickens. Similarly, Smith aims to guilt further by suggesting that if the reader was not so ‘self-serving’ and ‘human-centred’, then ‘we could afford to pay more’ to keep our, ‘furred and feathered friends’ from further pain. Smith even goes as far as attempting to incite fear in order to serve her cause. With references to an ‘over populated … planet’, ‘drastically decreased … numbers of animal species’, and ‘widespread human rights abuses’, Smith does this to promote remorse and guilt for the chickens. Critics of the activist’s actions are portrayed as hysterical and “idiotic”. With some quotations from a talkback radio show intended to make their views appear shallow and coarse, it is implied that, in comparison, Smith’s own position is calm and even respectful of both sides of the debate. This is intended to influence the reader to side with the more civilized position. Smith further expanded by later quoting a rhetorical question made by a famous philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. “The question is not, can they reason?.....But can they suffer?” By using this quote, it promotes the reader to rethink what their opinions are and henceforth convinces the reader to side with Smith. In...
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