Nov 23, 2015 | Paws for the Cause
This November the Paws for the Cause spotlight shines on United Poultry Concerns (UPC). This one of a kind organization focuses on
improving the understanding of and quality of life for chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other domestic fowl. These birds are not protected by any federal laws
in the U.S., and are excluded from both the Animal Welfare Act and Humane Slaughter Act. As such, compassionate treatment of domestic birds is often
under-considered, despite growing evidence that they are sociable,
friendly, and sentient.
From food production to scientific experimentation and other human – domestic fowl intersections, UPC has been at the forefront of advocacy,
promoting education about these birds since their founding in 1990 by Karen Davis. With an eye toward expanding an ethics of compassion toward these highly
sensitive and frequently abused domestic birds, UPC’s cutting edge work recognizes the deep connections between vulnerable birds and human health and
occupational safety, environmental concerns, and other issues.
Long time activist, educator, and scholar, Davis’ published work can be found in
a number of journals and books in addition to her ongoing work at UPC. Through national and international campaigns, conference participation, magazines
and other publications, film presentations and more, UPC’s work reflects constant dedication to improving the lives of often misunderstood turkeys,
chickens, ducks, and other birds.
The UPC website notes that the US Department of Agriculture has praised UPC for “raising the public consciousness on the issue and creating opportunities
for action.” In addition to awareness raising, UPC’s Poultry Press provides
newsletters, and other ways to get involved.
If those activities weren’t impressive enough, UPC also purchased 25 acres in 1998 to establish a much-needed sanctuary and now maintains a
“Poultry Paradise” in Virginia, providing a haven for these beautiful rescued birds. The acreage includes wooded areas and fields that provide
a buffer of safe land for the birds. After surviving hatcheries and all manner of challenges, the rescued birds all have indoor housing and yard space. In
addition to individual space, the sanctuary residents have access to a 12,000 square foot enclosed, predator-proof outdoor aviary.
This November marked the arrival of the 100th rescued birds, when four silky chickens were saved from a hatching project in North Carolina. In addition to
chickens, the sanctuary is home to a male guinea fowl named Glory, who lives with a game hen, and one handsome peacock, Frankincense, who arrived in 2000.
Each year the Saturday after Thanksgiving UPC hosts an annual open house. This free and open to the public event provides a time to meet some of the birds
and enjoy some delicious vegan food. This year the event lands on November 28th, from 2 to 5 pm. Vegan potluck dishes are encouraged, and some food is
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