United Poultry Concerns December 15, 2000
UPC Letter re: Prosecution of Truck Driver

December 15, 2000
Re: Case #200731

Mr. Tony Rackauckas
Orange County District Attorney
1275 North Berke, Room 375
Fullerton, CA 92382

Dear Mr. Rackauckas:

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns and our 10,000 members nationwide, I am writing to urge you to add cruelty charges to case #200731. As I understand it, a truck taking egg-laying hens to slaughter was seen to allow at least four hens to fall out of the truck on California's Interstate-5 without stopping. The witness called 911 from her cell phone, the truck was stopped by the California Highway Patrol, and the driver was charged with "spilling a load." We respectfully request that the driver be charged with cruelty to animals as well, for subjecting these hens to needless suffering under California Penal Code 597 (b). The law protects "any animal" and must therefore protect chickens.

Chickens have been scientifically shown to have a complex nervous system and a capacity to suffer from acute and chronic stress, pain and fear, the same as mammals and other birds. Like other birds as well as mammals, chickens have pain receptors, physical impact receptors, and thermo-receptors: the ability to experience pain, physical trauma, and temperature. Animal scientist Michael J. Gentle states: "It is clear that, with regard to the anatomical, physiological and behavioural parameters measured, there are no major differences [between birds and mammals] and therefore the ethical consideration normally afforded to mammals should be extended to birds ("Pain in birds," Animal Welfare 1992, Vol. 1:235). Dr. Lesley Rogers, a chicken physiology specialist, states that based on research "the chicken is not an inferior species to be treated merely as a food source" (The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken, 1995, 213).

Please send a clear message to this truck driver by adding cruelty charges to that of "spilling a load." I am available for additional information at 757-678-7875.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.


Karen Davis, PhD

Related Links:

United Poultry Concerns. December 15, 2000

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(UPC Letter re: Prosecution of Truck Driver)