2 December 2019

“Poultry Slam” Clarified: Verbal Cruelty

Dear Friends,

Some confusion was expressed yesterday by some readers about whether the “Poultry Slam” involved physical slamming of chickens and other birds. No! We’d be filing cruelty charges if that were the case. See Open Letter to Ira Glass and This American Life.

To clarify: The show, which ran for about a decade from the mid-1990s on This American Life, hosted by Ira Glass, features a variety of voices telling anecdotes about chickens, turkeys and other domestic fowl. It features sarcastic, mean-spirited humor directed against the birds.

The storytellers are typically rural-sounding, and some are professional writers representing a farmer’s outlook. We ran a huge campaign to get the show off the air and educate Ira Glass about who chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and others are in their own right, and, finally got his attention.

Unfortunately, reruns of the “Poultry Slam” continue airing each fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that the same vicious attitudes are recycled year after year on This American Life and NPR.

In 2006, in response to our campaign, Ira Glass invited me to be on the show as an advocate for the birds. I said I would, but only if he agreed, first, to visit our sanctuary and meet the birds the “poultry slam” slams. He graciously visited, and my “voice” was inserted into the show that year.

Later, in 2007, Ira Glass appeared on NPR’s satirical quiz show, “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and then on Late Night with David Letterman, where he described his visit to our sanctuary and how meeting our chickens caused him to feel sympathy for them and to stop eating them and become a vegetarian. — Karen Davis

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

What Can I Do?


Thank you for speaking up and speaking out!
United Poultry Concerns

Rhubarb at the sanctuary crowing
Photo of UPC sanctuary rooster, Rhubarb, by Davida G. Breier