Calgary Student Kills Chicken in School Cafeteria
“Butchering a living being without anything slightly resembling what could be construed as art, except in the most degenerate sense, is not
acceptable. . . . This individual was given a pass, which is a disgrace. It sends a terrible message that this is acceptable behaviour under the law
and not prosecutable.” – UPC President Karen Davis quoted in “U.S. Activist urges charges in ACAD chicken beheading”
by Tamara Gignac, Calgary Herald, April 27, 2013.
This poor bird lies helplessly in the hands of a male student at the Alberta College of Art and Design
moments before he tortured and killed her for a “performance art” project.
On Thursday, April 18, 2013, a student at the Alberta College of Art and Design, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada killed a chicken with a knife in the school
cafeteria in front of other students at lunchtime. An eyewitness said the student “decided to slowly slit [the chicken’s] throat while it’s wiggling, wriggling and screaming,” according to CBC News April 18, 2013. The killing was said to be a “performance” approved by the teacher for a project called “Fact or
The teacher, Gord Ferguson, who was fired then reinstated, shared the school’s position that the student’s behavior was not about ethics or
cruelty to animals but merely about perception (“prejudicial to ACAD’s business and reputation”) and design. Said Ferguson: “I
think his concept was sound. I think the way he carried it out could have been better designed.”
In a press release, UPC president Karen Davis wrote, “We are joining Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals to urge investigation and
prosecution of this deliberate act of animal cruelty.”
UPC sent letters to the Chief Crown Prosecutor, the Chief of Calgary Police Service, the Alberta SPCA, and the Calgary Humane Society urging that the
student, Miguel Michelena Suarez, be charged under Section 2 of Alberta’s provincial Animal Protection Act, which prohibits causing an
animal to be in distress, including animals who are injured, in pain, suffering, abused or subjected to undue hardship.
UPC joined Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals in urging ACAD president, Dr. Daniel Doz, to discipline the student and to adopt a formal policy
prohibiting the use of animals, including hurting, confining, and killing animals for exhibition or performance purposes. Students who witnessed the slow
killing and suffering of the bird expressed dismay at what they heard and saw– animal cruelty posing as “art.”
“The school and law enforcement together must take a stand against cruelty to animals and hold this student accountable,” Davis said in the
press release. “Society expects its prosecutors, police chiefs, and humane societies to uphold the law and not give lawbreakers a pass, especially
when the offense is one of extreme violence and gratuitous cruelty to a defenseless animal, as it was in this case.”
Despite eyewitness accounts of the horrific slaughter and suffering of the chicken in the school cafeteria, the Alberta Solicitor General’s office
refused to prosecute the student for animal cruelty, claiming: “After a careful review of this case, it was determined there was insufficient
evidence to support a conviction and the decision was made not to proceed.”
While the student who committed this atrocity should have been prosecuted by authorities and disciplined by the school, the Alberta College of Art and
Design (ACAD) needs to act now to prevent future acts of animal cruelty.
Join United Poultry Concerns, Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, Chicken Run Rescue, and Justice for Animals Arts Guild in urging the Alberta
College of Art and Design to adopt and enforce a policy prohibiting the use of nonhuman animals by its students, faculty or staff, as well as prohibiting
and penalizing animal cruelty in the name of “art.” A Code of Ethical Conduct should apply to all students, faculty and staff. Penalties should
include expulsion and failure to graduate for students, and job loss for teachers and staff.
- Sign our Change.org Petition for Chicken Tortured and Slaughtered for “Art” in School Cafeteria posted at
Dr. Daniel Doz, President
Alberta College of Art and Design
1407-14 Avenue NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4R3
Email via the ACAD website:
Anne Marie Dorland, ACAD Director of Communications
Richard Brown, ACAD Head of Program
Kim Alison Fraser, ACAD Acting Director of Communications
(Same mailing address as above.)
ACAD Faculty Association
After the killing, Alberta Academy of Art and Design, April 18, 2013.