United Poultry Concerns May 29, 2001
Protest Frank Perdue Being
Honored by Salisbury State Univ.


Salisbury State University will be honoring Frank Perdue at its Diamond Jubilee Gala.


Saturday, June 2nd beginning at 6 PM


The Commons Building; Salisbury State University; Salisbury, MD
(Contact for directions)
(Contact for DC-area carpool info)

Why protest?:

Frank Perdue is a notorious abuser of animals, exploiter of laborers, and polluter of the environment. Abuses of animals by Perdue operations have been well documented by United Poultry Concerns. The Perdue company, now run by Frank's son Jim, has been cited for violations of both labor and environmental laws and regulations. As a public university, Salisbury State should not honor a man who has hurt the local community so deeply.

What you can do:
  1. Write to SSU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach

  2. Join United Poultry Concerns and the Eastern Shore Chicken Sancturary in picketing and leafleting outside of the event on June 2nd from 5:30 to 7 PM at the Commons Building on the Salisbury State University campus.

Copy of pattrice jones' letter to President Janet Dudley-Eshbach

Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach
Salisbury State University

Dear Dr. Dudley-Eshbach,

I know that you are, as I am, relatively new to this area. I wonder if you have, as I have, taken the time to explore Frank Perdue's real legacy in the city of Salisbury and surrounding counties. If you had talked to workers laboring under the thumbs of the Perdues, walked through chicken houses under contract to Perdue, or toured the Perdue slaughter and processing operations, I'm sure you would agree with me that Frank Perdue is not the kind of person who ought to be honored in conjunction with Salisbury State University's 75th anniversary.

I'm sure you recall the television commercials in which Frank Perdue led us all to believe that "his" birds were happy and healthy. Between now and Saturday, I urge you to do what you should have done before agreeing to honor Frank Perdue. Be a scholar. Seek the truth.

Randomly select one of the farms with the Perdue signs hanging outside and ask to walk through one of the dark and poorly ventilated sheds into which 20,000 or more juvenile birds are crowded. Maybe you will be lucky enough to get there early in the "growing" cycle and have the chance to see how the chicks who don't grow fast enough are left to starve by the machines which raise the feeders according to a schedule set by Perdue. Or, maybe you will get there later in the cycle and have the chance to see 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.

You will be standing ankle deep in litter. As you shake it out of your shoes, recall that tons of this litter are dumped on local fields, creating runoff that pollutes our bay. Recall too that Perdue has repeatedly and deliberately defied environmental regulations. Before you go, take a look at the birds and remember that they have feelings too.

Next stop: the killing floor. As you drive to the factory, remember what you have read in the newspaper about the chicken catchers who work under contract to Perdue. Remember the dangers and degradations their jobs entail. Recall that some of them have lived in virtual debt peonage to their crew chiefs thanks to Perdue's refusal to abide by labor laws. Reflect that it is just such practices which led Frank Perdue to amass the money he has given to SSU.

I'm sure they will let you into the factory, even though security is otherwise very tight. You will learn the reason for the security, when you observe the horrific processes by which living creatures are transformed into abstract products. The benumbed factory workers deal with the terror and the blood, so that people like Frank Perdue can rake in the profits without soiling their own hands. I won't ask you to talk with a factory worker on site because the chances are that they, like the farmers, are too scared of Perdue to tell the truth unless they have assurances of strictest confidence.

Frank Perdue: abuser of animals, exploiter of workers, and despoiler of the environment. Is this really the kind of person who should be highlighted at the SSU 75th anniversary gala? I know that he has given a great deal of money to the university but ask yourself how he got so much money in the first place. He has extracted enormous profits from local workers, local animals, and the local environment. So what if he has given a small proportion of that money away in a manner calculated to glorify himself? The so-called gift does not negate the original theft.

I believe that you are dedicated to making the new Salisbury University a more diverse and progressive institution. Perhaps you do not realize that in honoring Frank Perdue you are sending precisely the opposite message. In honoring patriarch Frank Perdue, you are saying that rich white men still rule the roost at SSU. In honoring robber-baron Frank Perdue, you are saying that money, rather than ethics or scholarship, is the paramount value at SSU.

Me, I attended Towson State University. There I learned that the state universities in Maryland are public institutions for students of all economic classes. Unlike private colleges, such schools need not and should not defer to wealthy patrons. Please tell the sons and daughters of the chicken catchers and factory workers that Salisbury University is for them, not for Frank Perdue. Please omit Frank Perdue from the honorees at the 75th anniversary gala.

pattrice le-muire jones
Princess Anne, MD

United Poultry Concerns. May 29, 2001

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

(Action Alert - Protest Frank Perdue Being Honored by Salisbury State Univ. on June 2nd)