United Poultry Concerns February 3, 2001
UPC Op-Ed On DJ Stephen Meade

(Emailed as well as faxed on United Poultry Concerns letterhead stationery.)
February 3, 2001

Rocky Mountain News
Editorial Department
400 West Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 90204-2694

Dear Editor:

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 self-sacrifice.

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.

Related Links: United Poultry Concerns. February 3, 2001

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

(UPC Op-Ed On DJ Stephen Meade)