Canandaigua Academy’s Chicken Slaughter Project Stopped.
NY State Education Department Halts Project under the Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals Law
September 25, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact Karen Davis 757-678-7875
After a year of pleading by United Poultry Concerns (UPC) to the Canandaigua Academy City School District to eliminate a chicken slaughter classroom activity conducted at Canandaigua Academy high school in upstate New York, the State Education Department has informed the school district that the project requires a waiver under New York State Education Law Section 809(5) – Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals Law.
Education Law 809(5) provides that no school district, school principal, administrator, or teacher shall require or permit the performance of a lesson or experimental study on a live vertebrate animal in the school or during an activity conducted under the school’s auspices, whether or not on school premises, where such lesson or experimental study employs termination of life (http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/science/809_5waiver.htm).
To bypass this provision, a school must submit a detailed application to the Education Department for a waiver. Canandaigua Academy did not submit the application in time, claiming unawareness of this law. However, the school district has applied for a waiver from the Department to continue the high school ecology class “in which students raise chickens and then kill them to learn about food production,” according to today’s Canandaigua Daily Messenger
It is questionable whether a waiver will be granted given that the slaughter project is not being taught as vocational education, or for taking a state or national advanced placement examination, but, rather, for the purpose of acquainting students with “food production” and other goals that do not appear to fit waiver criteria.
On August 5, 2008, Elinor Molbegott, Legal Counsel for the Humane Society of New York, sent a letter to the Education Department, with support documents from UPC’s website at www.upc-online.org/classroom/canandaigua.html, urging the Department to review the chicken slaughter activity and make it clear that the activity “did not fall into any of the exceptions for the waiver.” Dr. Ann Crotty of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Instructional Technology replied that the Department was reviewing the situation.
On September 20, 2008, UPC President Karen Davis wrote to Dr. Crotty expressing the hope that the Department’s investigation into the project would result in a determination that having students slaughter animals to learn about “life and death” (and other nebulous, grand-sounding formulations) is illegal under the Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals Law. Dr. Crotty replied by email on September 23 that the Department had reviewed the project and notified the school district, which agreed “to suspend the current activities immediately to comply with the law.”
United Poultry Concerns is grateful to Dr. Crotty and the New York State Department of Education for this, albeit provisional, outcome. UPC’s campaign to eliminate the chicken slaughter project from the Canandaigua Academy curriculum on grounds of gratuitous cruelty to animals, including correspondence, can be viewed at www.upc-online.org/classroom/canandaigua.html.
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. www.upc-online.org.
For more information, contact Karen Davis: 757-678-7875; firstname.lastname@example.org.