Yeah… We’re talking to you.
Come here for a minute. Lean in. Listen carefully.
Can you keep a secret? So can we. That’s why we have never disclosed any information about Julia Child’s career in espionage, the top-secret plans for the United States to invade Canada, or any details about the Starbucks coffee shop that is located in the heart of CIA Headquarters.
Want to hear about something big? Do you promise not to tell anyone? Cross your heart? Show us your hands so we can make sure you aren’t crossing your fingers.
Alright, we believe you. Now, get ready to be shocked, because we have in our possession some shocking details about how the U.S. government has covertly imprisoned millions of people on suspicion of cowardice and is harvesting their eggs for some kind of freaky medical experimentation.
Just a minute… The editor-in-chief is banging on the window with a decidedly-urgent expression on his face. We’ll be right back.
And… we’re back. Erm…. Boy, is this rather embarrassing. Let’s pretend for now that the prior seven paragraphs aren’t there. By the time this sees print, they’ll be gone anyway, and no one else will know that we slightly misread the supporting material for this article.
On a positive note, the government is not holding a bunch of people accused of being chicken. It’s real chickens we’re talking about. But we were right about the fact that there are millions of them, and the feds are harvesting their eggs for experimental purposes.
We were right about the whole thing being cloaked in secrecy, though, so we are still holding you to your irrevocable “cross my heart and hope to die” pledge.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the United States’ super-secret strategic chicken stockpile.
In 1918, the world was in the grips of a deadly pandemic known as the Spanish Flu. It infected nearly one-third of the earth’s population and took the lives of an estimated 50 million people. It was, of course, a once-in-all-of-history type of event, and there is no way such a thing could ever happen again.
A few of the more nervous types in government thought there was a wee chance the world might face a deadly plague again. If that happens, they wanted to be ready to respond. The government moved at a pace that is typically reserved for glaciers, tectonic plates, the decay of Carbon 14, and the guy who delivers our pizza. Consequently, it only took about 80 years to get to its grand plan. Ultimately, it took the avian flu scare of 2001 to finally push plans into the implementation stage, which includes the aforesaid secret strategic chicken stockpile.
What do chickens have to do with combatting pandemics? They are the suppliers of one of the key ingredients in vaccine production: eggs. The most common way of producing vaccines is to inject a virus into a fertilized chicken egg, wait a few days for the virus to reproduce, remove the virus-laden egg white, and kill the viruses. The dead viruses can then be used in a vaccine to help trigger the body’s immunity response.
In the event of a full-blown pandemic, an estimated 900,000 eggs would be needed each day for 6-9 months to produce enough vaccine to protect the United States. Chickens tend to lay one egg per day, so a minimum of 900,000 chickens would be needed. The details are classified, we can only guess at this next part, but since the chickens would become, in effect, government workers, we can only conclude they would be entitled to vacations and would quickly develop an attitude of unhelpful indifference. Government agencies are also notorious for rapid growth, so we’re pretty sure that a lot more than 900,000 chickens are in the program.
The reason we don’t know more specifics is because the chicken farms were classified as “critical infrastructure.” This makes their location and details about their operation classified. Commonplace Fun Facts has, however, come into the possession of a map purporting to show several strategic chicken outposts. It is noteworthy because it shows precise map coordinates for each of the chicken farms. We publish it in full here, trusting you will have the opportunity to see it before any censors get their hands on it.
The strategic chicken stockpile is spread out over multiple locations. Each of these is protected by guards and state-of-the-art security. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracts with private poultry farmers to provide this vital commodity. One three-year contract with one of the providers was $42 million, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The chickens are not idle during non-pandemic times. In 2019, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 169.1 million doses of the flu vaccine were administered in the United States. Over 80% of those doses depended on an egg produced from the strategic chicken stockpile.
Thanks to this advance planning, when COVID-19 burst forth on the world stage, the chickens were immediately available to …. well… be of no help whatsoever. Although chicken eggs are excellent incubators for many types of pathogens, one thing that can’t reproduce in them is the novel coronavirus.
Having learned its lesson from the Spanish Flu and now the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is determined not to be caught with its pants down again. In 2019, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that requires health agencies to look at alternative production methods for vaccines.
If history is any indication, we’ll be able to share the results of that initiative in 2201.