KSU Chicken Cruelty Case Moves Forward

Birds at the mercy of bullies, from the battery cage to the basketball court, raise outcry

KSU Chicks

This sad little hen was thrown onto the slippery KSU basketball court. She is so weak from her life of cramped misery in a battery cage that she cannot stand or walk. Notice her overgrown spindly toenails that, had she lived a happy life scratching in the soil for food, would be short and blunt from vigorous activity.

On the night of February 19th, four hens obtained from battery cages were thrown 30 feet from the stands onto the basketball court in Kansas State University’s Bramlidge Coliseum, in Riley County. Another hen was kicked to death in the parking lot. Two of the hens died in the gym, and two are said to be living safely. The hens were painted red and blue, the school colors. This was not the first time this happened. For years, KSU fans have reportedly smuggled chickens into basketball games and thrown the birds onto the court. 

On February 23rd, United Poultry Concerns sent a certified letter to KSU president Dr. Jon Wefald urging a full investigation. (On the Web at www.upc-online.org/entertainment/22307KSU.html) We urged that effective steps be taken immediately to prevent such cruelty from recurring and punishment of the offenders if caught. We published an Internet alert urging people to protest to Dr. Wefald – which they did.

We learned that students were encouraged by certain “role models” to do this miserable deed. For example, an Internet search revealed a Sports Illustrated website that actually instructed students on how to conduct a “chicken toss” as one of the “Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate.” UPC contacted the website producer and requested an immediate removal of the “chicken toss” item. It was removed.

On February 27th, the KSU administration published a letter in the school newspaper acknowledging that on Feb. 19th, “several instances of the mistreatment of animals” took place. It warned that such acts will not be “condoned or tolerated.” Offenders face “possible prosecution under applicable penalty of law.” 

Riley County Animal Control Steps In

Working alongside University investigators with access to surveillance cameras, Riley County Animal Control Officer, Kevin Dorritie, located and caught several of the perpetrators. The case has been presented to the prosecutor and charges are pending. In addition, KSU has offered to pay for an Animal Cruelty Officer to be at all games from now on, along with regular security.

Kansas State University has a policy that “Anyone caught bringing contraband items into a University venue or throwing any object at the playing area during one of our Athletics contests is subject to ejection from the facility and applicable penalty of law.” Responding to the events of Feb. 19th, KSU announced it is “reviewing its procedures to help prevent such events in the future.”

KSU Chicks
These hens were painted red and blue before being thrown onto the court.
What Can I Do?
  • Please write a polite letter to President Wefald:
    Dr. Jon Wefald, President
    Kansas State University
    Office of the President
    110 Anderson Hall
    Manhattan, KS 66506
    Email: pres@k-state.edu

    Thank Dr. Wefald for taking this matter seriously, including having an Animal Cruelty Officer at all games from now on. Urge him to create an Animal Abuse Policy Statement to be included in the student handbook that will include swift, decisive consequences for cruelty to animals in the future – whether it occurs at an athletic event or not. Consequences should include maximum applicable criminal charges and not only ejection from the facility where the abuse was staged but expulsion from the University and failure to graduate.

    Urge Dr. Wefald to revise KSU’s policy statement to distinguish between inanimate objects and living creatures. Current language refers indiscriminately to “objects” and “items.” This fosters a callous attitude. Ask Dr. Wefald to update the language and develop additional ways of promoting compassion and respect for animals in the University’s policies, practices and curriculum.  Request a written response to your concerns.