Machipongo, VA - Washington Island School District administrators should
adopt an immediate written policy banning the instructional killing of
birds and other animals. The Wisconsin teacher who killed a chicken on
school property on September 20 crassly compared this bird to a "thing,"
and the hatchet he used to kill her with he referred to as a tool "in
the sense of a screwdriver or a hammer."
An October 2 article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette (Wisconsin) shows
the extent to which Washington Island school administrators and the
teacher, Steve Waldron, are manipulating language to insulate students
(and themselves) from the reality of this cruel and unnecessary
schoolyard killing. It's absurd to assert, as the School Board president
does, that this teacher "deals with life and death in a most respectful
manner." Mr. Waldron didn't "deal with" death-HE DEALT OUT DEATH and
seeks to hide his deed in a blather of platitudes and euphemisms.
Parents and others who objected to the schoolyard killing of an animal
might want to use the episode to reflect on why a killing they consider
unsuitable to be seen is okay to commit behind the closed doors of a
slaughterhouse. In some Asian cultures, dogs are killed for food. Should
students be given "diversity" lessons in how other cultures kill animals
whom most Americans regard as family companions?
Chickens experience pain, terror, and suffering the same as mammals.
Avian physiologist Dr. Lesley J. Rogers points out that "the assumption
that birds, including chickens, are not as highly evolved as mammals is
"If we wonder where so much of our violence and callous disregard for
life comes from, we need to look at the classroom as well as the
hypocrisy we are passing on to our children," Dr. Karen Davis, President
of United Poultry Concerns, insists. "The idea that slaughter is
'necessary' and 'respectful' is ridiculous, and slaughtering a chicken
in front of students is not the same kind of demonstration as showing
them how a baby is born."
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit