Chicken Heads Found On Dead Chickens!

Chicken heads have been found on dead chickens & KFC doesn’t want you to know it![1. This isn’t meant to be taken seriously. I’m fairly confident KFC embraces the idea that their chickens had heads. Now if KFC was raising headless chickens, that would be something they’d want to hide.] Many people are disgusted by images of animals being slaughtered and food like boneless, skinless chicken breasts hide all signs of the natural consequences behind eating meat. Environmental sociology argues that hiding the natural aspects of life distances people from the natural world they live in.


Did you hear the latest news? Reports are coming in that there are chicken heads in the boxes of uncooked chicken at almost all popular fried chicken fast food restaurants in the United States. Thankfully the employees rarely fry and serve the chicken heads. I teach Environmental Sociology and every semester a students will tell me that a friend of theirs who works at KFC or any of the other popular fried chicken places told them that they found chicken heads in the box of uncooked chicken parts (I’ll hold for your shock and awe).

What’s really surprising about this, environmental sociologists would argue, is that anyone is surprised or grossed out by this. I mean, if they find a lizard head in a box of chicken at KFC that’s nasty, but chickens have heads and if you eat chicken you should know that the head was removed by someone before you ate that yummy breast. However, the relationship many of us have with our food is one that hides that natural consequences of what we eat. Most of us go to the store and find neatly packaged chicken breasts with no bones, skin, or anything that would communicate to us that this was a living creature. A preliminary study by Dr. Frances Harris at Kingston University in London found that when asked where milk comes from many children didn’t say a cow. Instead they said milk comes from a bottle (here in the U.S. many of would call a milk bottle a jug or carton, FYI).

If they find a lizard head in a box of chicken at KFC that’s nasty, but chickens have heads.

Last semester I showed my class the film Food Incand during part of the film chickens were having their necks slit and many of my students screamed in horror. Think to yourself for a moment, would you want to watch a chicken, cow, pig or any other animal being slaughtered? Would you be willing to slaughter an animal yourself? Well even if you aren’t willing to do either, it doesn’t change the fact that if you eat meat that meat came from an animal who was slaughtered[2. I eat meat, so don’t think that I am brow beating you in hopes of converting you into a vegetarian.]. Apparently I’m in good company with my line of thinking here, because Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently told the public that he thinks it’s “irresponsible” to not be aware of where your meat comes from. To back up his words Zuckerberg announced that he is only eating meat he kills and prepares himself.

Our relationship with food is one of the most central ways people interact with the environment. In thinking about how our food is prepared and presented to us we can see how close or distant the natural world is to us. Many of experience the natural world as something that is, “out there,” and disregard that even urban environments are a part of nature. Environmental sociologists argue that for real environmental change to happen in the U.S. we must become closer to the natural world in both our minds, our bodies, and yes our dinner tables.

Dig Deeper:


  1. Do you eat meat? If not why not? If so, would you be willing to view or even participate in the slaughtering of the animals you eat? Why or why not?
  2. When I show my students pictures of what chicken nuggets look like before they’re pressed and breaded or tell them what’s in diet soda, ground beef, or fast food my students often close their eyes, plug their ears, and become upset. Why do you think many people want to stay ignorant to how their food is produced?
  3. Watch the trailer for the film Food Inc. Would you like to know more about where your food comes from? If so, in what ways. If not, why do you want to remain ignorant to where your food comes from?
  4. Beyond food production, how is life in urban areas “removed from nature”, so to speak. That is, what aspects of the natural world are hidden from urban dwellers?