February 3, 2001|
Rocky Mountain News
400 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 90204-2694
I am submitting for your consideration for publication, by fax and by
e-mail, the following commentary regarding "Chicken charge just
shouldn't fly," by Bill Johnson, January 28, 2001. Mr. Johnson's
views and the subsequent coverage of the Steven Meade trial in the
Rocky Mountain News encouraged me to write this commentary today. It
has been submitted only to you as of now in the hope that you will
choose to publish it. I would appreciate it if you would please
advise me of your decision as soon as possible. Thank you very much.
Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
DJ Jokes and "Boys Will Be Boys"
By Karen Davis, PhD
If there is one lesson in the behavior of people like disc jockey
Steven Meade, who was convicted on January 31st of convincing a radio
station intern to drop a hen from a balcony and record her fall, it
is that they know exactly what they are doing. They are intentionally
inflicting pain and suffering on others and exercising destructive
power. In the case of Meade, "others" refers not only to the hen but
to the many people Meade knew would suffer as well, as a result of
his action. As the director of a chicken sanctuary for over a decade
and a former juvenile probation officer in Baltimore, Maryland for
five years, I speak with the authority of having encountered, in case
studies and in real life situations, people such as Meade.
One thing that is often true about such people, when they are men, is
a relish for hurting females. I believe it is no accident that the
macho Meade chose to subject a small female bird to fear and to
potential injury and death, thereby inflicting emotional distress on
many women and girls who would suffer vicariously as a result. I
certainly am one of the women who suffered, ethically and
emotionally, from his cruelty. So did the wounded hen's rescuer and
the prosecuting attorney. As the successful prosecution of him shows,
however, the time when conduct such as that of Meade would have been
excused as "boys will be boys" is coming to an end. One reason for
this shift is that women are increasingly entering the legal,
medical, and veterinary professions. Such women are showing that
sensitivity and empathy can be put to very effective use in doing
jobs that demand tough-mindedness on behalf of otherwise defenseless
creatures, clients and patients.
When, as in the news coverage of the Meade episode, it is men who
keep being quoted as saying, "who knows or cares whether a chicken
feels pain" and "so what, it's only a chicken," let us ask what it
means when such meanness is paraded as if it were a point of
consensus or pride. Fortunately, it appears that such attitudes
command a decreasing number of adherents among both men and women,
and the "Willie Bs" of the world swing in the wind as an act of
I believe that Steven Meade should not only receive the maximum legal
sentence for using his job as a cover to act out his own moral
disorder; but that he should be fired from his job immediately.
People who think that allowing kids and others to abuse animals will
deflect such people from violence to humans had better consult the
mounting law enforcement evidence to the contrary. Steven Meade is a
criminal menace without excuse. He should be relieved of his post,
fined, jailed, and anathematized. He chose to be a bad egg, and he
should pay for it.
(Biographical and contact information follows)
Karen Davis is the president of United Poultry Concerns, a national
nonprofit organization that addresses the treatment of domestic fowl
in food production, science, education, entertainment, and human
companionship situations, promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit our Web site
at www.upc-online.org, or write to United Poultry Concerns, PO Box
150, Machipongo, VA 23405.
United Poultry Concerns. February 3, 2001
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(UPC Op-Ed On DJ Stephen Meade)