United Poultry Concerns December 18, 2001
UPC Letter Re: NPR Story on Birds Genetically Modified for Blindness
Morning Edition
National Public Radio
Via fax: 202-513-3329

Dear Morning Edition:

How appalling that the egg industry has come up with the idea of manipulating hens' genes to make them all blind, as you informed us in recent days. Only slightly less appalling was your failure to include in your broadcast the voice of someone dedicated to protecting hens and other birds used for food, like Karen Davis, Ph.D., president of United Poultry Concerns and author of the leading books on chickens and turkeys: Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry and More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality.

Already, hens at today's enormous egg factories live eight or nine to a tiny cage, unable to spread their wings, barely able to move, toenails sometimes curling around the floor wire and fixing the birds in place. Forget about veterinary care: With hundreds of thousands of hens to each football-field-sized aluminum shed, owners and workers treat individual birds as virtually worthless. Severely injured feet, bruised bodies with feathers rubbed off against cage wire, respiratory ailments from concentrated fumes and dust-all such problems will disappear in a few months when the buildings are emptied of their avian inhabitants who have never, even for a week, felt the joy of being alive.

To all of that some in the industry would add blindness? Chickens have full-spectrum color vision. To compound the cruelty of their captivity by depriving them of their most important sense and their ability to experience some orientation to their chaotic world is to say, Make no mistake about it: Compassion and decency have no place in the egg industry. When you next update your audience on this pathetic achievement, please be sure to make that announcement loud and clear.


David J. Cantor
United Poultry Concerns

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

(UPC Letter Re: NPR Story on Birds Genetically Modified for Blindness)

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