United Poultry Concerns January 17, 2002
UPC Letter Re: Takoma Park Farmer's
Market Addition of Animal Products

The following letter from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, appears in the January 2002 edition of The Takoma Voice (Takoma Park, MD). It opposes the Takoma Park Farmer's Market's recent addition of animal products-corpses, cow's milk, and eggs--to the market's food selection. Letters to the Editor email address: voice@takoma.com. Website: www.takoma.com

1 December 2001

Karen Davis, President
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
12325 Seaside Road PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Ph: (757) 678-7875; fax: 5070

The Takoma Voice
PO Box 11262
Takoma Park, MD 20913

Regarding the sale of meat and "free-range" eggs at the Takoma Park Farmer's Market: All those in favor of diversity draw the line at a diversity that would extend to the destruction of themselves, their loved ones, and anything else of true value to them, including their property. It is very easy to be proud of one's tolerance for a wide variety of human choices so long as those choices cost the tolerant one little or nothing. Several years ago, my organization, United Poultry Concerns, conducted a campaign to stop a dismemberment ritual called the "rooster pull." A rooster pull is a dismemberment ritual/sport conducted by certain Native American pueblos (villages) in New Mexico, in which contestants tear live roosters apart before spectators. One day I received a call from a woman complaining that our campaign sought to suppress "diversity," and that we Anglos or white Americans owed Native Americans the right to dismember live roosters for whatever reason they chose, as payment for the genocide we had practiced on these people.

Now, if this person had been called upon to sacrifice her own body to a dismemberment ritual in the name of diversity and/or as an atonement for what her ancestors did or might have done to the ancestors of contemporary Native Americans, she would have drawn a line. But because roosters meant nothing to her and had no legal protections, she could "sacrifice" them, even though roosters were not responsible for the atrocities perpetrated against Native Americans. Standing up for the "right" of people to sacrifice roosters not only cost her nothing; it gave her a "no skin off my back" claim to righteous indignation and lofty tolerance for a victimization that, had her great grandparents been documented as having massacred an entire Native American village or nation, she would not have agreed to if it were her life (and I will presume to say a lot less) at stake.

Neither the values of diversity nor the desire to atone for past injustices give one a right to be cruel. The people of Takoma Park are sufficiently well educated and sophisticated to know that meat and other animal products, however euphemized as "organic," "free-range," etc. entail slaughter, mutilations, and choicelessness for those Who Did Not Willingly Give Up Their Lives or Their Joy (such as raising their own families instead of having their families torn apart by "farmers"). Roscoe, the Takoma Park rooster memorialized under the town clock in a beautiful statue, should mean more than just private and communal feelgoodism and compartmentalized care, requiring nothing more of people who claim to hate violence and "terrorist attacks." Every piece of "poultry" was a Roscoe. Every dead body for sale at the market got that way as the result of multiple terrorist attacks. Every commercial hen and cow--"free-range," whatever-gets sent to a slaughterhouse after having been forced to give up the products of her body designed to sustain her own young. As a writer (Paul Shapiro) said in his letter in the November issue of the Takoma Voice, becoming vegetarian (vegan) is a powerful way to take a stand against the violence and bloodshed that plague our society-our entire world-today. It is a way of saying, and meaning, "Let there be peace, and let it begin with me."

Karen Davis, PhD
Member of the Roscoe Memorial Committee

Author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry; Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless "Poultry" Potpourri (a vegan cookbook); A Home for Henny (a children's book); and More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Lantern Books, 2001).

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization promoting the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, visit www.UPC-online.org..

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

(UPC Letter Re: Takoma Park Farmer's Market Addition of Animal Products)

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