ACTION ALERT * * * ACTION ALERT * * * ACTION ALERT
United Poultry Concerns May 15, 2001
Protest Jim Perdue as Speaker
at University of Pennsylvania

Wharton School Dinner Honoring Family Firms May 23
Urge that Perdue's Invitation Be Cancelled

Issue: On May 23, The Wharton School (the business school of the University of Pennsylvania) is having its "Family Business of the Year Awards" dinner. The Wharton School sponsor of the dinner is the Family-Controlled Corporation Program (FCCP). The keynote speaker is Jim Perdue, head of Perdue Farms. Students, faculty, and the general public are invited to "Meet and learn about the dynamic family firms that deserve recognition for combining innovative business concepts with strong family leadership."

What Can We Do? Protest! Please write a polite, professional, firm letter of objection immediately. Request that Jim Perdue's invitation to speak at the dinner be withdrawn. UPC's letter with reasons for making this request appears following the contact information below. Please write your letter in your own words. Thank you!

(University of Pennsylvania Switchboard: 215-898-5000)

Dr. Judith Rodin, President
University of Pennsylvania
Office of the President
100 College Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380
Phone: 215-898-7221.
Fax: 215-898-9659.

Director of The Wharton School FCCP
Dr. Timothy Habbershon, Director
Family-Controlled Corporation Program
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Vance Hall, 4th Floor
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374
Phone: 215-898-4470
Fax: 215-573-6084
Web site: http://www.fccp.com

Dean of the Wharton School
Dr. Patrick Harker, Dean
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
3620 Locust Walk, Suite 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Student Newspaper
Caryn Tamber, City News Editor
The Daily Pennsylvanian
University of Pennsylvania
4015 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Fax: 215-898-2050
Web site: http://www.dailypennsylvanian.com
email: letters@dailypennsylvanian.com

Letters To the Editor
The Philadelphia Inquirer
PO Box 8263
Philadelphia, PA 19101
Email: inquirer.editorial@phillynews.com
Fax: 215-854-5884
Phone: 215-854-4531

UPC Demonstration:

Roberta Spivek will be leading a leafleting/peaceful protest against Jim Perdue's speaking engagement next Wednesday, May 23. Wharton, the businees school of the University of Pennsylvania, is having him as keynote speaker at an awards dinner. The protest is 4:30 - 6:00 p.m. in front of the Benjamin Franklin House, 8th & Chestnut Streets. Please write or call Roberta if you can help out: rspivek@aol.com, or 215-413-1461 (please do NOT call after 9:30 p.m.).

Letter to Timothy Habbershon Follows

May 17, 2001

Timothy Habbershon
Director, Family-Controlled Corporation Program
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Vance Hall, 4th Floor
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374

Dear Dr. Habbershon:

As a Penn alumna (Annenberg M.A.), I urge you to withdraw the invitation to James Perdue to address the May 23 "Family Business of the Year" ceremony. Having such a man honored by Wharton is an embarrassment to the university, and to its students and alumni.

I recently became sensitized to the horrendous conditions involved in poultry farming, after rescuing a baby chick in Washington Square (see enclosed City Paper article). As someone who had never even held a bird before, I was amazed by the chick's sweet personality -- and by what its fate would have been had I not been able to find it a home with a concerned family.

I don't know how many millions of birds suffer and die every year in Perdue Farms- contracted chicken sheds, but their fate is intolerable to increasing numbers of Americans. For people of conscience, Jim Perdue's name is synonymous not with business leadership, but with animal cruelty. As you're probably becoming aware, poultry farming involves mutilation, confinement, and slaughter techniques that include slitting each bird's throat while it is fully conscious, and scalding many alive. Birds are not rivets or computer chips; they are living, sentient beings. I find it hard to believe that Perdue Farms represents the kind of "innovative" leadership Wharton wants its students to emulate, or that factory farming adheres to the kind of business ethics Wharton wants to cultivate in our nation's future business leaders.

The Philadelphia area is home to many ethical and dynamic family businesses. I urge you to withdraw Mr. Perdue's invitation, and to replace him with a more appropriate speaker.

Sincerely,
Roberta Spivek

cc: Judith Rodin
Caryn Tamber, The Daily Pennsylvania

Letter to Dr. Judith Rodin Follows

pattrice le-muire jones
13981 Reading Ferry Road
Princess Anne, MD 21853
410-651-4934

18 May 2001

An Open Letter to University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Judith Rodin

Doctor Rodin,

As a resident of the region in which the Perdue family conducts its business operations, I must express my vehement opposition to the selection of Jim Perdue as the keynote speaker at the Wharton School's Family Business of the Year Awards. The Perdue family business exemplifies all that was wrong with the old style of amoral capitalism and shows no signs of embracing, or even understanding, the new ethos of corporate responsibility.

The Perdues and their business are soundly loathed by the local community. This is because they have exploited and polluted the local environment, oppressed and disenfranchised local citizens, and used their wealth and power to gain undue influence over the local media. I have heard such upright personages as bank managers say that they

wish the Perdues would be "run out of town." I have heard local farmers under contract to Perdue curse the day that they entered into the agreement. I have heard "chicken catchers" employed by agents of Perdue despair at the debt peonage into which Perdue's employment practices have placed them.

At the national level, the Perdue family business engages in unlawful deceptive advertising, leading consumers to believe they are buying the meat of happy birds raised in a healthful environment. The truth is that the Perdue birds crowded into dark, filthy, poorly ventilated chicken sheds are often diseased and always miserable.

Perdue's violations do not end there. This family business has repeatedly been cited for willful violations of both labor and environmental laws and regulations. As a result of these violations, local citizens are impoverished as the local environment is polluted.

All of this is easily verified by documentation. But, seeing is believing. So, I invite you to visit me here on the DelMarVa peninsula. We can take a driving tour past the sheds housing 20,000 birds each and perhaps catch a whiff of the fetid smell that local residents know so well. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to find a shed recently cleared by chicken catchers, in which case we can wade through ankle deep litter, examining the dead birds in varying stages of decomposition who died of disease and were left to rot next to the living birds destined for your dinner table. Then we can take a drive to the factory, using all of our senses as we observe the process by which benumbed workers slaughter and slice the terrified birds. We will notice that the workers move like machines, per Perdue procedures, and that those procedures entail much more suffering than is necessary. This ensures that the Perdue family, up in their mansion far from the sweat and blood, will squeeze every cent out of the human and non-human animals from whom they derive their profits. Our final stops will be the Wicomico River and Chesapeake Bay, where we can observe the pollution and wildlife depletion associated with the run-off from the fields onto which the chicken shed litter has been dumped.

If you won't take my tour, I hope that you will at least have the scholarly integrity to check out my claims yourself. You will see that the Perdue family business is not the kind of enterprise which should be held up as a model for Wharton School students. If you cannot or will not disinvite Perdue, I hope that you will at least provide students with all of the facts. I would be happy to prepare a properly sourced fact sheet for distribution at the dinner.

Sincerely,

pattrice le-muire jones

UPC Letter to Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the University of Pennsylvania

May 17, 2001

Dr. Judith Rodin, President
University of Pennsylvania
Office of the President
100 College Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6380

Dear Dr. Rodin:

I am writing to you in regard to the "Family Business of the Year Awards" ceremony on May 23. My reason for writing to you is the The Wharton School Family-Controlled Corporation Program's selection of Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms as the keynote speaker for this event honoring "dynamic family firms that deserve recognition for combining innovative business concepts with strong family leadership." We are concerned because Perdue Farms has one of the worst reputations on record with respect to responsible family leadership. The company has consistently fought against taking any responsibility for its environmentally destructive practices affecting the Chesapeake Bay. Federal and state policymakers have had to force Perdue Farms to limit the toxic waste the company pours into the air and waterways every day on the Eastern Shore.

Jim Perdue has been a leading opponent of Maryland's efforts to regulate waste from poultry farms, calling Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening "anti-business" for trying to protect the Bay from further Pfiesteria piscicida outbreaks following 1997's outbreak linked to uncontrolled poultry waste. Perdue Farms destroyed Parker Creek in Accomac, Virginia where the company runs a slaughterhouse along the main highway. For decades, Perdue Farms has fought against having to assume any ethical responsibility towards the communities of the Eastern Shore, the states in which the company operates, its workers, its millions of birds, and the ecosystem as a whole.

In the 1990s, Perdue Farms helped block federal legislation that would have added poultry to the 1958 Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Perdue Farms has been cited by human rights advocates, religious groups, animal advocates, legislators, OSHA, and environmentalists for its morally indifferent business attitude and behavior. The Washington Post has documented Perdue Farms' illegal conduct on the Eastern Shore, including the company's criminal politics at its corporate headquarters town of Salisbury, Maryland (August 2, 1999, A1+). In February 2000 a federal judge ruled that Perdue Farms willfully violated federal wage laws by denying its workers overtime wages

(The Washington Post, February 29, B4). The company was ordered to pay a million dollars of back pay to these workers. I have heard Perdue Farms' spokespeople mock slaughterhouse workers' diagnoses of repetitive motion disorder during speeches at poultry industry conventions in Atlanta, Georgia. I have heard them deride employee pain and disabilities-job-related injuries and illnesses that Perdue Farms has refused to acknowledge, let alone help to alleviate, apart from OSHA's coercion.

Perdue Farms may not be the only U.S. company that conducts business without a conscience, but it ranks with the most unconscionable and corrupt. On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, I request that the invitation to Jim Perdue to speak at the May 23 awards dinner be withdrawn. If the word "strong" as employed by the Wharton School FCCP's commendations is meant to include "responsible" and "accountable" then Jim Perdue and Perdue Farms cannot logically receive any honor. Perdue Farms currently has a stranglehold on the Eastern Shore, which it would completely ruin were it not for government intervention and citizens' groups. Perdue Farms has a consistent record of anti-innovation, anti-stewardship, obstruction, and regressive policies when it comes to responsible corporate citizenship and business ethics.

Please have The Wharton School FCCP withdraw its speaking invitation to Jim Perdue. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Karen Davis, PhD
President

UPC Letter

May 14, 2001

Dr. Timothy Habbershon, Director
Family-Controlled Corporation Program
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Vance Hall, 4th Floor
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6374

Dear Dr. Habbershon:

I am writing to you in regard to the "Family Business of the Year Awards" ceremony on May 23. My reason for writing to you is the FCCP's selection of Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms as the keynote speaker for this event honoring "dynamic family firms that deserve recognition for combining innovative business concepts with strong family leadership." We are concerned because Perdue Farms has one of the worst reputations on record with respect to responsible family leadership. The company has consistently fought against taking any responsibility for its environmentally destructive practices affecting the Chesapeake Bay. Federal and state policymakers have had to force Perdue Farms to limit the toxic waste the company pours into the air and waterways every day on the Eastern Shore.

Jim Perdue has been a leading opponent of Maryland's efforts to regulate waste from poultry farms, calling Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening "anti-business" for trying to protect the Bay from further Pfiesteria piscicida outbreaks following 1997's outbreak linked to uncontrolled poultry waste. Perdue Farms destroyed Parker Creek in Accomac, Virginia where the company runs a slaughterhouse along the main highway. For decades, in fact, Perdue Farms has fought against having to assume any ethical responsibility towards the communities of the Eastern Shore, the states in which the company operates, its workers, its millions of birds, and the ecosystem as a whole.

In the 1990s, Perdue Farms helped block federal legislation that would have added poultry to the 1958 Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Perdue Farms has been cited by human rights advocates, religious groups, animal advocates, legislators, OSHA, and environmentalists for its morally indifferent business attitude and behavior. The Washington Post has documented Perdue Farms' illegal conduct on the Eastern Shore, including the company's criminal politics at its corporate headquarters town of Salisbury, Maryland (August 2, 1999, A1+). In February 2000 a federal judge ruled that Perdue Farms willfully violated federal wage laws by denying its workers overtime wages (The Washington Post, February 29, B4). The company was ordered to pay a 2.4 million dollars of back pay to these workers. I have heard Perdue Farms' spokespeople mock slaughterhouse workers' diagnoses of repetitive motion disorder during speeches at poultry industry conventions in Atlanta, Georgia. I have heard them deride employee pain and disabilities-job-related injuries and illnesses that Perdue Farms has refused to acknowledge, let alone help to alleviate, apart from OSHA's coercion.

Perdue Farms may not be the only U.S. company that conducts business without a conscience, but it ranks with the most unconscionable and corrupt. On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, I request that you withdraw your invitation to Jim Perdue to speak at your May 23 awards ceremony. If the word "strong" as employed by the Wharton School FCCP's commendations is meant to include "responsible" and "accountable" then Jim Perdue and Perdue Farms cannot logically receive any honor. Perdue Farms currently has a stranglehold on the Eastern Shore, which it would completely ruin were it not for government intervention and citizens' groups. Perdue Farms has a consistent record of anti-innovation, anti-stewardship, obstruction, and regressive policies when it comes to responsible corporate citizenship and business ethics.

Please withdraw your speaking invitation to Jim Perdue. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Karen Davis, PhD
President

C: Dean Patrick Harker

Cover Letter to Dean Harker re: Perdue

May 14, 2001

Dr. Patrick Harker, Dean
The Wharton School
3620 Locust Walk, Suite 1000
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear Dr. Harker:

I am enclosing a copy of my letter to Dr. Timothy Habbershon, director of The Wharton School Family-Controlled Corporation Program, to express our objection to having Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms give the keynote speech at the FCCP's May 23 "Family Business of the Year Awards" dinner. We feel that Jim Perdue's record and that of Perdue Farms renders Mr. Perdue ineligible for this honor, for reasons set forth in the accompanying letter to Dr. Habbershon. In our opinion, the invitation to Jim Perdue should be cancelled.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 757-678-7875 for more information.

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Karen Davis, PhD
President

Cover Letter to Caryn Tamber re: Perdue

May 14, 2001

Caryn Tamber
City News Editor
The Daily Pennsylvanian
4015 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dear Ms. Tamber:

I am faxing you a copy of my letter to Dr. Timothy Habbershon, director of the Wharton School Family-Controlled Corporation Program, to express our objection to having Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms give the keynote speech at the FCCP's May 23 "Family Business of the Year Awards" dinner. We feel that Jim Perdue's record and that of Perdue Farms renders Mr. Perdue ineligible for this honor, for reasons set forth in the accompanying letter. I would be very pleased if you would consider publishing my letter or using it for an article about the Jim Perdue invitation.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at 757-678-7875 for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you very much.

Karen Davis, PhD
President


Related links: United Poultry Concerns. May 15, 2001


United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
757-678-7875
FAX: 757-678-5070
www.upc-online.org

(Action Alert - Protest Jim Perdue as Speaker at Univ of Penn on May 23rd)