1 December 2019

Hens standing on a short brick wall
Photo of UPC sanctuary hens by Karen Davis

Open Letter to Ira Glass and This American Life

See also: “Poultry Slam” Clarified: Verbal Cruelty

Dear Friends,

In your own words, please feel free to share your concerns and your compassion for chickens politely with Ira Glass, host of This American Life, which airs on National Public Radio.
Send emails to: web@thislife.org

December 1, 2019
From: Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns
To: Ira Glass and This American Life:

I am sorry to learn that the “Poultry Slam” still runs on This American Life. I am sorry to learn that your recent episode on November 30, 2019 featured a photographer who said she eats chickens, even while taking beautiful pictures of them.

In 2006, in response to my invitation, Ira Glass visited our sanctuary for chickens on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In April 2007, Ira told David Letterman and millions of viewers that meeting our chickens caused him to stop eating chickens and become a vegetarian. To say this moved me and many other people to tears is an understatement. For a celebrity like Ira Glass to courageously stick up for chickens, not only in word but in action, was one of the highlights of my professional and personal life advocating for these wonderful, tragically abused and endlessly suffering birds.

Here is the video of Ira on David Letterman’s show, April 20, 2007. On behalf of the chickens, we were so grateful, and still are, or were, until hearing that a recent airing could not resist reassuring the public that even people who “care” about chickens do not care enough to stop making them suffer for a meal or a snack.

Ira Glass Tells David Letterman how Karen & her chickens led him to become a vegetarian.

Please Thank IRA GLASS for Promoting Veg Change on David Letterman

There is no excuse for “slamming” chickens or any other animals, first because there is nothing in their natural behavior to warrant their being slammed; second, because by doing so, we perpetuate the maniacal cruelty and insensitivity to which they’re subjected by the billions, despite the fact that a chicken is as sensitive as you or I. No member of any species deserves to be gut punched. This American Life promotes compassionate respect and ethical treatment of human beings. It is time to extend this same moral courtesy and concern to chickens and other fellow beings who live on Earth with us.

I would appreciate a response from you, thanking you in advance for your time and attention.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Phone: 757-678-7875


See also:
“Poultry Slam” Clarified: Verbal Cruelty


KAREN DAVIS, PhD is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation, Karen is the author of numerous books, essays, articles and campaigns. Her latest book is For the Birds: From Exploitation to Liberation: Essays on Chickens, Turkeys, and Other Domesticated Fowl (Lantern Books, 2019).

Hens exploring the ground and resting in the trees
Photo of UPC sanctuary hens by Karen Davis