Clean Fun, Yes - Mean Fun, NO!

Chicken-Flying Contests: Cruel Fun

Chicken-flying contests are not clean, wholesome fun. They are nothing more than the bullying of innocent and bewildered birds. They teach children to make fun of other creatures instead of protecting them from harm and fear.

Love is Best

What Does This Contest Consist of?

Scared and confused chickens are pulled from dark, crammed little crates and wire coops and mounted above a field surrounded by noisy spectators and microphones. They do not fly willingly. Many birds flutter and fall helplessly and hit the ground backwards. The "joke" is to push them out of a pretend mailbox with a toilet plunger and then chase the distressed birds around the field with nets.

Chicken-flying contests are not in the best American tradition. They are a cheap, illegitimate rip-off of a defunct European tradition. Some people believe that the Creator gave humanity "dominion" over other life. However, a loving God does not authorize humanity to degrade and insult the other creatures of the earth, any more than parents are authorized to bully and belittle their children. The idea of a gracious human spirit is expressed in the Bible, where it says, "O, Jerusalem . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings" (Matthew 23:37). This is the model of a protective love given in the Bible.

The oldest and the newest ethic asks each of us to examine our own life and to begin making choices based on respect for the earth and compassion for all living beings.

What Can Be Done Instead?

  • Develop an alternative to the use of live chickens as entertainment with a "Make Your Own Chicken" contest. Each participant can create their own synthetic chicken and enter it in the annual "chicken" contest.

    • Categories for Judging:
      • Most unusual "chicken"
      • Best flying "chicken"
      • Worst flying "chicken"
      • Biggest "chicken"
      • Smallest "chicken" ,
      • Most beautiful "chicken"
      • Most lifelike "chicken"
      • People's choice award in which non-participating spectators vote for their favorite "chicken"

    • Prizes: Anything from ribbons to cash

    • Possible Types of Entries: Participants have and endless array of possibilities - a balloon "chicken", a kite "chicken," "chickens" of many different materials - cardboard, tin cans, balsam wood, paper-mache, soap, etc.

  • If chicken-flying contests are being held where you live, urge the sponsors to stop holding them. Ask them to adopt the above proposal or another one that will transform the contest into a positive event that respects the life and feelings of all creatures. Make copies of this brochure and distribute it at your home, church, community center, and workplace. Tell your newspapers, radio and TV stations how you feel.