Attention: Opinion Editor
Yellow Springs News

Dear Editor:

This letter is an open letter to Mr. Manley and Ms. Christen expressing our concern about the farm program at Antioch College. Please feel free to publish it.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Karen Davis, President,
United Poultry Concerns




UPC logo

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
Phone: 757-678-7875 • FAX: 757-678-5070
www.upc-online.orginfo@upc-online.org


January 20, 2020

Tom Manley, President
Antioch College
One Morgan Place
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
tmanley@antiochcollege.edu

Kat Christen, Farm Manager
Antioch College
One Morgan Place
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
kchristen@antiochcollege.edu


Dear Mr. Manley and Ms. Christen:

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns I am writing to express my concern about the chickens and ducks photographed and videoed in a ramshackle shed as part of your Farm program, which is being promoted as a sustainable alternative to “factory farming.” My concern is shared by others who, as you know, have criticized the conditions to which I draw your attention.

I speak as a keeper of chickens and ducks for more than 30 years when I say that, based on the visuals and audio submitted to me, your birds are not receiving the humane and attentive care they need and deserve in order to thrive. The shed into which they are crammed at night looks ill-kempt, and I wonder how often it is cleaned to avoid accumulated droppings and atmospheric ammonia inside.

I share the concern of those who object to encouraging students to view and treat birds, lambs and other animals as mere objects whose only value is to be made dead for consumption and who, viewed thus, are treated by the students and their instructors without any show of kindness or affection. Your formula that these animals are “livestock . . . not pets” is code for 1) lower standards of care than for animals differently categorized and 2) impersonal behavior devoid of showing or feeling affection toward these animals, de-natured, conveniently, as “livestock.”

Since human beings do not require animal products for a healthy diet, and since animal agriculture is now seen as a significant contributor to global heating, environmental contamination, antibiotic resistance, and transmission of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and other intestinal pathogens to handlers and consumers of animal products, a question is, what is the point of this farm program?

I agree with those who oppose bringing animals into the world in order to kill them. I wonder if your students are being supplied with knives to kill the animals. Who does the killing?

I wonder if you would consider relinquishing animal slaughter in favor of innovative techniques that grow fruits and vegetables organically, but without animal manure. Veganics, as you know, is progressive agriculture that encourages the presence of wild native animals on the farmland.

In conclusion, I disagree that your farm is an alternative to factory farming other than in scale. With respect to attitude and treatment of the birds and lambs, it is a miniature factory farm – a loveless, joyless enterprise in which the animals are units of production deprived of caring human involvement. I suspect the students in this program know little about the actual animals, seeing them rather through a lens of pre-determined attitudes, from which moral obligation and empathy for fellow creatures are absent.

Thank you for your attention and consideration. I would appreciate hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

signature

Karen Davis, PhD
President
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Office: 757-678-7875
Email: Karen@UPC-online.org

 


United Poultry Concerns is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the
compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. http://www.upc-online.org

Federal ID: 52-1705678