Florida Public Schools: Classroom Cruelty Update

Chicken Bashing

Prompted by the highly publicized chicken slaughter episode at Hawthorne High School in Alachua County, Florida on April 15, 2009, United Poultry Concerns and Humane Educators Reaching Out filed a formal 79-page Petition for Agency Action with the Florida Department of Education in March this year, urging the department to develop and enforce specific rules implementing Florida’s humane education laws to prevent further episodes of sadistic cruelty to animals in Florida’s public schools. On April 14, 2011 the department denied our Petition, claiming that Florida’s anti-cruelty laws sufficed to prosecute animal cruelty in Florida. For the background to this story, see Poultry Press Summer 2011, also available online at www.upc-online.org/pp/summer2011.

In May, UPC filed a Florida Public Records Act request with the Alachua County Superintendent of Public Schools requesting all records relating to classroom courses in which chickens were set to be harmed or killed in Florida classrooms in 2011, 2012 or later.

In June, UPC received the following response from the Superintendent: “No animals or poultry have been processed [slaughtered] during a class since 2009. There are no plans to process animals or poultry in the future during an agriculture class. However, many of our students elect to raise, show and compete with animals at fairs and other sponsored activities. After many of the competitions the animals are auctioned to a purchaser who then decides the disposition of the animals. The FAA [Future Farmers of America] organization is an integral part of the instructional program so the animals or poultry are both an FAA project and a class project. . . .”

What Can I Do?

If you hear about any poultry slaughter projects at any schools anywhere in the U.S., please let us know. For more information about our campaigns against Classroom Cruelty, please visit our Website page at www.upc-online.org/classroom.