Annual Report for 1999
United Poultry Concerns holds that the treatment of chickens and other domestic fowl in food production, science, education, entertainment, and human companionship situations has a significant effect upon human, nonhuman, and environmental welfare. We seek to make the public aware of the ways poultry are treated and to advance the compassionate and respectful treatment of chickens and other domestic fowl. We are grateful to our supporters for enabling us to fulfill our mission in 1999.
In 1999, United Poultry Concerns:
- Held a press conference during the International Poultry Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia on January 20 to highlight forced molting abuse. Speakers included Karen Davis, PhD, president of United Poultry Concerns, and Roger Caras, president of the ASPCA. We called upon egg producers to end the forced molting of hens, citing the link between starving the birds and disease. Our press conference was reported in New Scientist ("Rotten eggs," Jan. 30), which noted that our claims are backed by USDA-sponsored studies.
- Persuaded the Special Military Active Retired Club (S*M*A*R*T) to cancel the chicken-flying contest they had planned for their 1999 military social in Shawnee, Oklahoma in April. Not only did S*M*A*R*T cancel the contest; they graciously wrote a letter to UPC in support of our concerns.
- Held an information table and leafleted thousands of people at the White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington DC on April 5 with our handout, "Where Do Eggs Come From."
- Circulated sign-on petitions and initiated a nationwide letter-writing campaign to United Egg Producers and US Poultry & Egg Association urging the elimination of forced molting. As a result, "several thousand" requests to stop this starvation practice were reported by United Egg Producers in the April 5 issue of Feedstuffs and in the May-June issue of Poultry & Egg Marketing.
- Published a letter in the March issue of The New Yorker opposing reinstatement of the "ticktacktoe chicken" – a succession of hens forced over the years to live in a Chinatown arcade machine and "play games" with arcade goers. UPC placed the last of these sad hens, Lily, in a loving home in Massachusetts upon her release to a UPC member in 1998.
- Published op-ed articles on forced molting and the plight of turkeys in major newspapers around the country including The Chicago Tribune (March 31) and The Philadelphia Inquirer (Thanksgiving Day).
- Sat on the executive committee and successfully helped to raise money to erect the beautiful memorial statute, by Normon M. Greene, in honor of Takoma Park, Md's deeply beloved and much missed free-ranging rooster, Roscoe, who was killed by a car in February after having been cherished and protected by the community for 10 years.
- Held our 9th Annual Mourning Vigil for Chickens in Crisfield, Md at the Delmarva Chicken Festival on June 19.
- Under the direction of UPC website administrator Franklin Wade and UPC activists Liqin Cao and Jamey West, UPC conducted 37 separate leafletings and protest demonstrations in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.
- Sponsored the first national Forum on Direct Action for Animals June 26-27, at our headquarters in Machipongo, Va. Activist leaders, including the heroic battery-hen rescuer from Australia, Patty Mark, shared their expertise and experience concerning direct action interventions, strategies, and goals. For a summary of this historic conference, see UPC's website.
- Held a "Direct Action for Chickens" on Monday, June 28, following our 2-day conference, outside the Perdue chicken slaughter plant in Accomack, Va. After rescuing two young chickens from the highway who had fallen off trucks earlier that morning on the way to the slaughterhouse (they died in our arms), we exhibited their bruised faces and wounded bodies before news media cameras at our Noon Rally at the courthouse in Eastville, Va. The purpose of our rally was to protest the illegal erection of a Perdue chicken complex in Northampton County, where UPC is located. (The lawsuit by realtor David Kabler to stop the Perdue complex failed last year despite UPC's and other county residents' objections.)
- Conducted a successful exhibit table at the Takoma Park Street Festival on Oct. 3, and at the Eastern Shore Birding Festival in Cape Charles, Va, October 9 & 10 with our message about chickens: "The Call of the Wild is In Their Hearts Too!"
- Participated in the conventions held by the Maryland Association of Science Teachers (Oct. 22), the Virginia Association of Science Teachers (Nov. 5-6), and the National Science Teachers Association (Boston, March 25-28).
- Hosted several exciting Thanksgiving events including our successful Vigil for Turkeys in Bethesda, Maryland, organized by UPC member Jamey West on November 19; our 10th annual
Thanksgiving open house at our headquarters in Machipongo, Va on November 20; and our
protest demonstration outside the White House against the Presidential "turkey pardoning"
ceremony on November 24. We urged with our banners and signs "Don't Gobble Me!" and "Turkeys: Meet One, Don't Eat One."
And more . . .
- United Poultry Concerns was the focus of a major 4-page feature article, For The Birds," by Tamara Jones, in The Washington Post Sunday Style Section, November 14. The article, with photos by Frank Johnston, provided an in-depth look at United Poultry Concerns and its founder-president, Dr. Karen Davis, educating readers around the world about the work of United Poultry Concerns, including our chicken sanctuary and our many campaigns to fight poultry abuse and promote a compassionate lifestyle. The article spawned a feature article in the Salisbury, Md Daily Times on November 28, "For the love of the birds," and a television documentary about United Poultry Concerns on the Brazilian Idea Television program, America, America, in December. "For The Birds" won the Fourteenth Annual Ark Trust Genesis Award for Outstanding National Newspaper Feature in 1999.
- Stopped a 20-year long "Chick Hormone Lab" at a major midwestern school district in response to parents' and students' complaints about the cruelty that were being ignored by school administrators. Following UPC correspondence and a meeting with the school science coordinator, the school district agreed to remove the "Chick Hormone Lab" from the curriculum if UPC and the local group we worked with agreed not to name them. We agreed.
- Stopped plans by Perdue Farms to hold a "Masterpieces in Chicken" children's art show at the David Beitzel Gallery in NYC which was to have been hosted by movie actor Danny Glover in
early January 2000. In "Bad to the Bone," The New York Times reported on December 21 that David Beitzel said United Poultry Concerns "caused such a ruckus" that he "put an end to it."
And more . . .
Animal Welfare Conference Participation
- UPC President Karen Davis represented United Poultry Concerns at the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Councils in Washington, DC, providing oral and written testimony
concerning the link between forced molting and Salmonella food poisoning. In addition, UPC President Karen Davis actively participated in the following forums: Symposium on Poultry
Management and Production, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association in New Orleans on July 11, 1999; Special Meeting on Potential Projects in Relation to Farm Animal
Welfare, NYC, September 26; and Conference on Food Animal Husbandry and the New Millennium: Ethical, Environmental, and Societal Impacts, University of Pennsylvania, November 5.
Animal Rights Presentations
- UPC President Karen Davis presented talks at the following compassion-oriented events: Florida Voices for Animals' "Have a Heart for the Animals" Vegetarian Dinner in Tampa, February
21; In Defense of Animals' World Laboratory Animals Day Rally in New York City, April 22; People for Animal Rights' "Ushering Compassion Into the Next Millennium Symposium" in
Kansas City, MO, October 30; and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Service in Salisbury, Md, on November 14.
Serving the Animal Advocacy Community
- UPC President Karen Davis was elected to the Summit for the Animals Executive Committee for 1999-2000. Our Committee planned the program for the Summit for the Animals meeting,
April 20-May 1, in Atlanta, Ga.
- UPC introduced the battery hen's own true story, Goosie's Story, by South African writer Louise van der Merwe, to American readers, and the Book Publishing Company published a New Edition, including many new recipes, of Karen Davis's bestselling cookbook Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless "Poultry" Potpourri.
- In 1999, United Poultry Concerns established our new headquarters in Machipongo, Va, following our relocation in September 1998. We built and renovated chicken houses and fences, and ran our sanctuary, including the adoption of new chickens, while continuing to do all of the things – and more! – listed above. We were pleased to work successfully with other animal protection organizations on a variety of issues. We are most grateful for having had the opportunity, which continues unabated, to work closely with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to eliminate the inhumane egg industry practice of starving hens for profit, known as forced molting.
- United Poultry Concerns maintains a permanent chicken sanctuary, education center, and referral service at our headquarters at 12325 Seaside Road, Machipongo, Virginia 23405. UPC's website administration office, headed by Franklin Wade, is located in Bethesda, Maryland. Our website address is www.upc-online.org.
From all of us at United Poultry Concerns, thank you for your continued support.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns takes this opportunity to thank the following foundations for providing grants to assist in the support of our sanctuary, our alternatives to chick hatching program, and our membership recruitment drive: Ahimsa Foundation, Helen Brach Foundation, Center for Compassionate Living-Komie Foundation, Marino Foundation, National Anti-Vivisection Society Sanctuary Fund, and Two Mauds, Inc.