I think today is the last day for office duck.
Although my co-worker apologizes to me endlessly, having a duck in the cubicle next to mine hasn't been a big problem. I love animals. I don't mind stepping over barriers to get to my desk. I don't mind that my posters are loose at the bottom, because office duck likes to pull out the tacks. I just put them back up at the end of each day. I hope office duck isn’t swallowing them.
I did mind a little when office duck was raising his crest feathers and hissing at me every time I walked to my cubicle. It's hard not to take that personally. I wish I could explain to office duck that I am an ally, a non-combatant in the eternal, one-sided war of man against duck.
I also minded a little the day office duck had gas. A poisonous cloud of duck farts occupied my cubicle. There is no ventilation of any kind in my basement office. I can’t imagine what was fermenting in that animal’s belly, but wow. Maybe it was all the thumb tacks that have disappeared from my wall.It’s clear that this duck has been raised around people, because he relates to me like I am a member of the same species. We think he was one of last year's Easter chicks-- my coworker found him wandering the parking lot at her train stop. Working at my job, I continually encounter examples of our species' gross cavalierness toward animals.
My coworker named office duck Aloysious-- but, not, as you may be thinking, after the teddy bear in Evelyn Waugh's novel, Brideshead Revisited. Like many children, she had always wanted a duck named Aloysious.
Aloysious and I just got past the defensive display, crest-raise + hiss phase today. He started looking quizzically into my cubicle when I was working there, and then blandly watching me when I walked by him. I regret Aloysious is going away just as we had reached cross-species detente. He was getting used to me, and I was getting used to him. This was a significant step for both of us. I am generally no fan of fowl. Although I pick up snakes, insects, rats, and alligators for my job, and have no qualms about any of them, I find that I dislike fowl of all kinds. Geese, ducks, and chickens in my experience are invariably aggressive. That said, I cannot sanction eating them, factory farming them, force-feeding them in order to produce fatty livers for pate, or any of the other horrors we inflict on them. Fowl have every reason to be aggressive,and no living creature deserves the life of confinement and torture it endures on the way to your plate. But try not to think about that as you savor your next victim sandwich.
Other industrialized nations require that chickens be rendered unconscious or killed prior to bleeding and scalding, so they won’t have to go through those processes conscious. Here in the United States, however, poultry plants—exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act and still clinging to the industry myth that a dead animal won’t bleed properly—keep the stunning current down to about one-tenth of that needed to render a chicken unconscious.
Gail Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse