The Arab Spring has led to a Chicken Autumn in Saudi Arabia where poultry protests have become common. Newsweek has reported: “An unorthodox protest is underway among the normally docile citizens of Saudi Arabia. Faced with the soaring cost of chicken—a staple at the heaving dining tables of the desert kingdom—campaigners are urging Saudis to boycott the bird. The agitation has taken wing on Twitter, where a campaign called Let It Rot is exhorting people to punish traders—blamed for exploiting the shortage of chicken in jacking up prices to unconscionable heights—by leaving the meat untouched on supermarket shelves.”
Gulfnews.com has reported that the “‘Let it Rot’ campaign urges people to refrain from eating chicken to punish traders who they say have raised prices by about 40 per cent in the past two weeks:
Saudi Arabia is a leading supplier of chicken, a food staple in the country, to neighbouring countries and an export ban imposed this week in an effort to defuse the anger is likely to trigger regional shortages.
In a country where political parties and unions are banned, ordinary Saudis regularly take to social media to vent their anger, organise campaigns and question official decisions. Twitter has become a virtual ‘Saudi street’, which the government sometimes aims to appease.
Meanwhile, chicken wars have broken out between South Africa and Brazil, two of the keystones of BRICS. Brazil has been exporting too many chickens, apparently. “South Africa, which joined the much-heralded BRIC nations of dominant emerging countries last year, has charged that Brazil is damaging its poultry industry by dumping too many of its cheaply priced, fine-feathered birds onto its market, endangering jobs,” reported IBITimes.com. “BBC reported that chicken farming has long been one of South Africa’s most successful businesses, as more than 1 billion birds are consumed annually in the country, more than double the amount of beef. But their share of the domestic market has been dramatically cut as Brazil’s chicken exports surged 40 percent in just one year.”
Meanwhile, in Assawoman, Virginia, “A teen's horseback riding lesson ended abruptly after a foot-long hunk of raw chicken that fell out of a cloudless sky hit her in the head.” According to Carol Vaughn of the Salisbury, Maryland Daily Times:
Fortunately, what hit Cassie Bernard last week was the smallest of three or more poultry parts that rained down as owner Jennifer Cording was giving a lesson to a group of advanced students while several parents looked on.
"Three objects fell out of the sky in front of us, two larger and one quite small," Cording said.
Bernard, who was not injured, was wearing a riding helmet when the chicken hit her. Protecting a rider from unidentified flying chicken parts is not the helmet's normal function, but it did the trick.
Clearly, as a standard, chicken is too volatile and too unpredictable to become a world monetary standard. Apparently, one can never tell when a chicken (or a part of one) will come flying out of the sky. And chicken producers can control supply at will. Unlike gold, the supply of chicken does not average a steady 1.5 percent a year. Suppliers can flood the market – much like central bankers. And unlike gold, chickens are not quite so portable.