Chicken Abuse by San Francisco’s Live Animal Vendors: An Update

In the last issue of Poultry Press (Summer-Fall 2009), we ran an article about the horrible abuse of chickens by San Francisco’s live animal vendors including stuffing live birds into plastic bags for customers to take home and slaughter. Although cruelty to all animals is officially prohibited under the general provisions of California Penal Code 597, a special section 597.3 of the Penal Code, reinforcing cruelty laws with regard to certain live market activities, excludes birds defined as “poultry” from the animals it covers. The birds most affected by this exclusion are chickens. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office will not prosecute the vendors for cruelty violations, claiming that the exclusion extends to all other applicable sections of 597; therefore, “there is no legal means to prosecute.”

The San Francisco activist group LGBT Compassion is leading a charge to change the situation. In September the group scored a major point in getting the City of San Francisco to instruct Good Hope Baptist Church to “cease and desist” providing church property for New Longs Live Poultry to do business on.

United Poultry Concerns is working with LGBT Compassion on this campaign and we will keep our readers informed about what is happening and how they can help. We thank you for your letters to Amy Brown of San Francisco’s Real Estate Division and to Reverend Rance Whiteside, former pastor of Good Hope Baptist Church, who is now in a convalescent home. Rev. Robinson the new pastor returned our letters unopened.

For updates, photos, and video clips, please visit LGBT Compassion’s Website page, “Animal Abuse at San Francisco Farmers’ Markets,” at ( UPC’s “Live Markets and Auctions” section of our Website also posts this campaign, along with other information about live markets, including our 11-minute video Inside a Live Poultry Market, at