United Poultry Concerns June 14, 2001
UPC Letter Re: "Cluck You" by Janet Reynolds

Printed in Letters, The Hartford Advocate, June 14, 2001, p.3

Dear Editor:

Regarding "Cluck You" by Janet Reynolds, May 17, 2001.

What a shame when the word "healthy" is just another buzzword. In the mouth of the poultry industry, it is. The National Chicken Council (an industry trade group) says birds going to slaughter nowadays are the "healthiest they've ever been." In reality these birds are so unhealthy that in 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) declassified poultry diseases such as airsacculitis, whose primary pathogen is E. coli. Why? because virtually every bird going to slaughter is loaded with airsacculitis. Practically all the birds would have to be condemned as inedible, and the poultry industry would go out of business as it should. Other USDA "edible" chicken diseases are cancer, swollen glands, infectious arthritis, and diseases caused by intestinal worms. Scabs, pus, and bruises are regular items in fast foods and school lunches.

As to how chickens are treated by the poultry industry, extension specialist Michael Darre says it doesn't pay for farmers to mistreat their animals: "You don't do these things if you want to sell." That's basically what American slaveholders said when confronted with their cruelty to their slaves: "Very bad policy--damages the article, makes 'em quite unfit for service. Clear waste, sir, of a thousand dollars" (Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Chapter 1).

As for not enough people getting sick to prove that chickens and other farmed animals are mistreated, in 2000, U.S. taxpayers paid nearly $7 billion for food-borne illnesses alone-fecal illnesses primarily derived from eating and handling chicken, eggs and other animal products. Thousands of these illnesses go unreported each year in the U.S., and many show up later as arthritis and other degenerative diseases, as the disease-causing microbes frequently migrate inside the body. In Fast Food Nation (2001), Eric Schlosser writes, "The current high levels of ground beef contamination, combined with the even higher levels of poultry contamination, have led to some bizarre findings." Microbiological tests conducted at the University of Arizona found "far more fecal bacteria in the average American kitchen sink than on the average American toilet seat" (p. 221).

Hopefully, "Cluck You" will cause many readers to become vegetarians.

Thank you very much.


Karen Davis, PhD

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

(UPC Letter Re: "Cluck You" by Janet Reynolds)