Help Us Shut Down Oberlin Public Library’s CRUEL Chick Hatching Events!

Action Alert Courtesy of Victoria Hart, Ohio Animal Rights Activist

In honor of May’s International Respect for Chickens Month, we began efforts to shut down a cruelly exploitative chick hatching event at Oberlin Public Library (OPL) in Oberlin, Ohio – a town known for its historic fight for abolition, equality, sensitivity, and inclusivity.

The library arranged this event through Ohio State University’s Extension Program and is made available to all public libraries in Lorain County, Ohio. Eggs for this program come from Meyer Hatchery, in Polk, Ohio. See

This year’s chick-hatching event at the library began in late April, 2023. David Fausnaugh, the new Library Director, is the person responsible for deciding to have chick-hatching events at the library. These free public events are for the community’s entertainment (in the guise of “education”), in the hope of prompting monetary donations and/or new memberships from visitors who find the event appealing and thus worth continuing.

The chick-hatching event stretched into May 2023, and on May 4, United Poultry Concerns’ International Respect for Chickens Day, a group of local activists protested outside the library. In response, the library covertly ended the event prematurely, trying to avoid further negative attention. By that time, it was known that one egg out of the eleven featured “didn’t make it,” and at least two hatched chicks were visibly ill. Most disturbing was the fact that one tiny brown chick with splayed legs was separated from the others, trapped inside a makeshift room divider inside a comfortless metal cage. This weak, sickly chick was seen suffering in distress and misery and died not long after. It is suspected that the sick chicks were denied proper medical care, contrary to Mr. Fausnaugh’s claim when questioned about it.

Hatching machine on library table

The activists have continued their protests, calling the Oberlin Public Library’s chick hatching event CRUEL and SHAMEFUL based on the following:

1.) At this year’s chick-hatching event, eleven eggs were placed inside a comfortless Styrofoam incubator machine. Those eleven eggs were from mother hens who were exploited for their egg producing capabilities, had their eggs stolen from them, and were undoubtedly distressed and frustrated when their strong brooding instincts were thwarted.

2.) Newly hatched chicks peeped and searched about for their absent mothers, instinctively seeking her safety, nurturing, and guidance. The incubator they were trapped in bore no resemblance whatsoever to a welcoming, protective mother hen they so desperately needed.

3.) While trapped inside the incubator, and later when placed in a metal cage, the chicks trampled and pecked at each other in their barren enclosure, were handled by staff, and were poked at by visitors. The chicks were forced to endure bright lights, strange sounds/voices, and other intrusive conditions as both staff and visitors hovered over the unnatural spectacle throughout the library’s open hours. This constantly disrupted the chicks’ sleep, a crucial need for baby chicks. These continuous interruptions could be seen on a livestream of the event at the OPL’s YouTube channel.

4.) The eggs came from “America’s industry-leading hatchery” – Meyer Hatchery in Polk, Ohio – a hatchery offering “more than 160 breeds of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, and game birds.” Apart from those they will sell, hatcheries destroy male chicks as soon as they are born. Hatcheries also destroy any sick or otherwise unwanted female chicks. Gruesome “standard practices” for murdering hatchery chicks include gassing, suffocation in plastic bags, or shredding chicks alive in macerators. In some cases, unwanted chicks are electrocuted.

5.) In 2022, the library had their first chick-hatching program. One of the librarians volunteered to take the chicks home with her once the event ended. She was permitted to do so, and off they went. But later, as the chicks grew a bit older, the librarian discovered that 5 out of the surviving 6 chicks turned out to be males who were growing into roosters. Not wanting “annoying” roosters, she tried finding homes for them, but was unsuccessful. She then took the 5 male chicks to a farm that would “take care of them.” Upon learning this, an activist asked the librarian if that farm was a sanctuary and was told the farm was “a place that processes roosters.” (Like so many others who “keep” chickens in order to steal their eggs, she felt that since the roosters wouldn’t be profitable, their lives didn’t matter.)

chicks inside the hatching machine

This year, Mr. Fausnaugh allowed this same librarian to take home all of the surviving chicks when the chick-hatching event abruptly ended. Both Mr. Fausnaugh and the librarian refused to release the chicks to farmed animal sanctuaries that activists had lined up.

Mr. Fausnaugh is claiming that he personally didn’t see any animal cruelty. Along with this, he has mentioned that the library received a greater amount of positive feedback from the community versus vocal protest from a small group of activists. It is because of this overall positive feedback that Mr. Fausnaugh is unwilling to “definitively” say whether he’ll be renewing the chick-hatching event in the future. What we are asking is that he state in writing that he will NOT renew OSU’s chick-hatching program NOR decide to have other library programs featuring animals dead or alive.

Chick-hatching programs are CRUEL lessons, but thankfully, kind alternatives are available that do not exploit animals. United Poultry Concerns puts out a helpful 16-page booklet titled Hatching Good Lessons: Alternatives To School Hatching Projects; available in print and online at

(NOTE: Mr. Fausnaugh and his staff have already been given copies of this booklet. As yet, there has been no response.)

What Can I Do?

PLEASE help us end Oberlin Public Library’s chick-hatching events once and for all by contacting Mr. Fausnaugh with a message of support for our efforts to shut down this program. Your action could help convince Mr. Fausnaugh that the program is not worth renewing.

Call David Fausnaugh, Oberlin Public Library’s Director at 440-775-4790
And/or EMAIL him at
And/or Write to him at
Oberlin Public Library, 65 Main Street, Oberlin, Ohio 44074.

chick taken from hatching machine and held in hands

Thank You for Sticking Up for Chicks!