Rosenthal agrees that northern Worcester County, which is home to poultry processing plants
for Tyson Inc. are Perdue Farms, has been getting a rash of chickens on the road.
"We've gotten quite a few," she said. "I've picked up quite a few myself. Anywhere you drive,
you see them smashed."
But stopping to care for them is an expensive prospect. Behrend said she's spent more than $70 in
the past three months on medical costs for the chickens.
Sometimes they pull through. The survivors end up at the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary, a nonprofit
group started by Pattrice Jones.
Like Behrend, Jones became upset by the birds she found on the roads. She began taking them in, and now her back yard
and garage in Princess Anne are a roost for more than 70 birds.
"We found a chicken on the side of the road," Jones recalls. "We made some calls and found that there was
no place to take him."
Jones admits that the cost of keeping chickens is high, but she's happy to do it.
"It's certainly no worse than the fate that awaits them at the end of the ride," she said. "In
my mind, the chickens who fall off are the lucky ones."
Behrend said her roadside encounters have caused her to rethink her view on poultry.
"As I held one of those injured birds in my arms, I was overcome with guilt," Behrend said. "I realize that chickens
are killed for food consumption, but I don't believe that any living creature should be left on the side of the
road to die slowly and painfully."
Behrend said she's been calling Tyson and Perdue to try and convince the companies to
change their transport methods, asking them to replace latches and cover the trucks. She's also
sent letters to the Maryland Department of Agriculture and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
"I want them to stop it. I know they can stop it," she said.
Meanwhile, as long as she keeps seeing them, Behrend said she'll continue picking up
the fallen birds.
"You bet I will," she said. "They're there, they're wounded and they need help."
Times Photo by Autumn W. Collins
Pattrice Jones releases a young chicken into
a pen at her home near Princess Anne. Jones has serveral pens of
chickens she has saved from death.
Reach Dan Valentine at 410-749-7171, Ext. 306 or email@example.com
Pattrice Jones' Letter Printed in Response to Article
I appreciated your [02/18/01] story concerning the rescue efforts of
Marlene Behrend and the work of the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary.
We do encourage citizens to stop for any live chicken they see on the
road and to contact United Poultry Concerns (757-678-7875) or the
local Humane Society to find the nearest sanctuary that can provide
the bird with a good home. Here at ESCS, we are always delighted to
make room for one more.
I wish to clarify my position concerning chickens who fall from
trucks. They are, indeed, the lucky ones. Those who survive the fall
have at least a chance at freedom and a happy life. Those who do not
survive may die a painful death, but that death is no more painful
than the death that awaits at the end of the ride. Slaughter
procedures at poultry factories are designed to maximize profit
rather than minimize pain. Most often, having been hung from their
feet and then dipped in an electrified bath, the birds are paralyzed
but completely conscious as the plucking and slicing begins. These
innocent young birds experience a level of pain and terror which most
of us can only imagine.
That is why I say that those who fall are the lucky ones, even if
they die from injuries sustained in the fall. Better to die having
experienced at least a moment of fresh air and freedom than to die on
the factory line, having never once seen the sky.
I know that seeing dead birds on the roadway can be upsetting.
Reality often is. The poultry industry is built upon the broken backs
of helpless birds and it serves no earthly or spiritual purpose for
us to deceive ourselves about that. Yes, the poultry industry makes a
lot of money but that does not make it right. The cocaine industry
makes a lot of money too but that does not stop us from demanding
that those who profit from it find other ways of making a living.
And who really profits from the poultry industry, anyway? The farmers
who give up their autonomy in order to "grow" birds under the strict
supervision of a powerful poultry corporation, receiving relatively
paltry compensation in return? The chicken catchers and factory
workers who do the bloody and dirty work for low wages so that
industry executives and stockholders can rake in the profits with
clean hands? Our children, who eat the wings of birds as snacks, and
are thereby taught that it's okay to kill for pleasure? No, it is
wealthy families like the Purdues and wealthy stockholders invested
in corporations like Tyson who reap the real benefits.
I hope that someday we will see the error of our ways and stop
treating animals and the environment like playthings. I hope that
someday there will be no more poultry trucks loaded down with
thousands of baby birds headed for a painful death. Until then, I
will cheer every chicken who falls or leaps to even a brief moment of
freedom. And, I will hope that those who die by the side of the road
will remind all who drive by of the brutal and bloody reality behind
the pretty screen of poultry industry propaganda.
Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary
Karen Davis' Letter Printed in Response to Article
February 19, 2001
Letters to the Editor
The Daily Times
On Times Square
115 East Carroll Street
Salisbury, MD 21801-5421
Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
12325 Seaside Road PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
Thank you for Dan Valentine's article, "Assisting injured fowl" (Feb.
18, B1-B2). I remember my first visit to Pattrice Jones' Eastern
Shore Chicken Sanctuary in Princess Anne. It had been raining, but as
I pulled up to the house, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared, and
the sun shown through glistening trees on the sanctuary's beautiful
white chickens, populating the woods as in a fairytale. More than a
magic kingdom, it was a Peaceable Kingdom, full of radiance.
As I revisited this scene in your article, it unfolded like a flower
against the ugly story about shooting pigs in the head, blessed by a
pastor, for the sake of children, in "Going hog wild," on page one.
One story shows people bringing something lovely into the world, the
other shows people determined to ensure that their children will
embrace violence and the deliberate infliction of death for reasons
having nothing to do with self-defense.
People can make what they want of the Bible, since it contains images
of just about everything. They can invoke Scripture to justify their
personal commitment to the world of the Fall or they can do what is
within their power to establish or reestablish a Garden of Eden and a
place of grace, as in "Let there be peace, and let it begin with me."
Each of your stories was about the human will and its capabilities.
Guest Editorial Printed in Response to a Challenging Letter
I read with interest Max E. Chambers' letter ("Chicken Sanctuary
Raises a Few Questions") of 03/03/01 in response to my letter
("Fallen Chickens Have Chance at Freedom") of 02/23/01. I appreciate
in advance the Daily Times¹ willingness to allow me to respond to the
challenges Chambers posed to me and to the Eastern Shore Chicken
Chambers is correct in surmising that I believe people should sharply
curtail if not entirely eliminate their consumption of meat and other
animal products. I believe this not only because I am concerned about
cruelty to animals but also because I am concerned about human
welfare and the environment.
Many people, like myself, do not eat meat for religious or ethical
reasons. Even experts who are not morally opposed to meat eating
acknowledge that people in the United States eat entirely too much
meat for their own good. We would all be happier and healthier if we
consumed more fruit, fresh vegetables, and grain.
The meat industries do not feed the world but, rather, contribute to
the problem of world hunger. It takes, on average, seven pounds of
grain and soybeans to produce only one pound of meat. Conversion of
farmland devoted to the production of animal feed to the production
of food for humans would have many benefits, including not only an
increased food supply but also an opportunity for more sustainable
and profitable agricultural practices.
Instead of vast tracts of genetically identical field corn to be sold
at a low price as animal feed, farmers could grow more diversified
and potentially lucrative crops intended for human consumption. A
more diversified crop base would allow for the resumption of
traditional agricultural practices such as crop rotation, soil
development, and seed saving in order to produce locally adapted
plants. These practices would reduce the need for heavy applications
of fertilizer and pesticides, thus reducing costs while at the same
time preserving the environment.
It is possible to feed the world without relying upon the genetically
modified seeds, artificial fertilizers, and chemical pesticides
marketed by companies like Monsanto, which make their money by
exploiting farmers. In order to do so, we all must cooperate by
changing our patterns of consumption. Ending the excessive
consumption of meat and animal products would, in the long run,
produce a healthier and more equitable world for everyone.
Ending the abuse of farmed animals would also produce a more peaceful
world. Many people have written The Daily Times to express outrage at
the recent burning of a puppy. But, what is the moral difference
between a baby dog and a baby bird? Both are innocent creatures who
mean us no harm. But, we allow baby birds to be abused and killed
just so that some people can have the fun of eating chicken McNuggets
and Buffalo wings. We allow the poultry factories to utilize
unspeakably painful slaughter procedures just so that the owners of
the factories can have the fun of earning a little more money per
bird. How, then, can we expect our children to understand that its
not okay to torture animals for fun?
At ESCS we are indeed concerned about the problem of loss of
farmland. We would be delighted to work in coalition with anyone
working towards the preservation and expansion of land devoted to
sustainable agriculture. We also would like to see the federal
Department of Agriculture devote more resources to helping
independent farmers develop sustainable local practices. Too often,
this and other federal agencies serve the interests of corporations
like Tyson and Monsanto, rather than the interests of farmers.
Daily Times readers who are interested in learning more about the
environmental and economic impact of meat, or learning how to change
their own diets, might wish to read Frances Moore Lappe's classic
book, Diet for a Small Planet. [OOOPS... I had completely forgotten
that Lappe advocates egg eating. I will be sure to offset the error
by writing an egg-related letter soon.] Technical information about
agricultural biodiversity and sustainable agriculture is readily
available online through any of the major search engines.
In summary, ESCS provides shelter to chickens because providing
previously abused animals with a safe and happy home is a good thing
to do in and of itself. Our efforts to advocate for chickens are,
however, part of a comprehensive vision of the social changes needed
to create a world which is not only better for animals and the
environment but also better for people.
pattrice le-muire jones
Eastern Shore Chicken Sancturary