Ruffling Georgian FeathersThursday, April 01, 2010
Georgia is the fourth largest poultry producing region in the world, meaning If Georgia were a country, it would only rank behind the United States, China, and Brazil, respectively.
The poultry industry annually contributes over $15.1 billion to the Georgia economy, including farmers, processing, and allied industries. (Statewide economic impact of the industry is an estimated $13.5 billion annually - New Georgia Encyclopedia)More than 47,000 Georgians are employed by the poultry industry directly.
The current state bird, the brown thrasher, has no contribution to the state of Georgia economy.
Of course, there are people who want to keep the Brown Thrasher as the state bird. The Georgia Conservancy is having its own petition drive, and has this on their website:
Big Chicken last week launched a broadside attack against the noble Brown Thrasher, the state bird of Georgia. A Georgia purveyor of chicken parts announced a drive to get the Georgia General Assembly to throw the Brown Thrasher out like a dishrag and replace it with a new state bird- the chicken! Yes, you read that right - it's the fried chicken, the broiled chicken, the barbecued chicken that we all love to eat.
Don't get us wrong. Georgians love our chicken at mealtime, but the idea of making the chicken our state bird crosses the line from sanity to insanity. The Georgia Conservancy will do everything in our power to make sure that such a travesty does not occur.
The AJC calls it "commerce versus conservation. White meat versus warblers." Can't wait to see how this turns out...