Following a year-long campaign to persuade Canandaigua Academy (a high school in upstate New York) to eliminate a project in which students butchered chickens in an ecology course, United Poultry Concerns learned yesterday that the Education Department has instructed Canandaigua Academy administrators to stop the slaughter project under NYS Education Law, Section 809 - Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals, which prohibits studies that employ “termination of life.”
Of the 25 or more baby chicks who were shipped inhumanely by airmail from a hatchery in Iowa to New York as “perishable matter,” the surviving 19 birds – though referred to as “15 hens,” a photo in the Canandaigua Daily Messenger shows a group of fragile, overweight young roosters – were picked up yesterday by Farm Sanctuary for permanent placement in the sanctuary.
In December 2007, students illegally slaughtered 21 chickens in Eric Cosman’s ecology class, despite the pleading of Canandaigua activist, Joel Freedman, urging school administrators to show mercy and spare the birds.
It was subsequently disclosed that under NYS Education Law, Section 809, a school seeking to harm and kill animals must submit a waiver application to the Education Department for review. The department promptly suspended the project, following a letter from attorney Elinor Molbegott, legal counsel for the Humane Society of New York, on August 5, 2008, advising the department of the project, which had not been applied for or approved.
The school district submitted the waiver application, a copy of which was obtained by Molbegott under a Freedom of Information Law request. The application showed that the school offered no legal justification for killing the chickens. The goals set forth did not meet waiver approval standards, and the application was denied. At this time, it appears that the Canandaigua Academy chicken slaughter project is dead for good.
“United Poultry Concerns is deeply gratified that the Education Law protecting live vertebrate animals in the State of New York was upheld,” says UPC President Karen Davis. “It gives confidence to the humane community, which increasingly is all of society, that laws protecting sentient creatures from preventable harm are enforced, and that the animals themselves, be they chickens or dogs, are gathered within our circle of compassion where they belong.”
For more information, please visit www.upc-online.org/classroom/canandaigua.html.