June 24, 2015
Lawrence J. Yerdon
President & CEO
Strawbery Banke Museum
PO Box 300
Portsmouth, NH 03802
Via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mr. Yerdon:
Thank you for your May 26th letter addressing the concerns set forth in my letters to the Portsmouth Herald and the Portsmouth City Council
about the exhibition of chickens at Strawbery Banke Museum. I appreciate your taking the time to reassure me and United Poultry Concerns and our
supporters that the chickens will be well cared for in the ways you have outlined in your letter. I do want to emphasize that:
A large and growing body of scientific literature shows that chickens are highly intelligent birds and that whatever might have been thought at one
time, people involved with chickens need to understand now that, as Dr. Lesley Rogers states in her book The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken: “With increased knowledge of the behaviour and cognitive abilities of the chicken
has come the realization that the chicken is not an inferior species to be treated merely as a food source.” Chickens have “a complex
nervous system designed to form a multitude of memories and to make complex decisions” (pp. 213, 218).
There are good reasons to be concerned about chickens being exhibited in a museum setting designed to demonstrate a historical situation. Chickens are
much more than mere “farm” animals and we respectfully ask that you use the opportunity to educate your visitors and staff accordingly.
Regardless of how well a museum exhibition is set up, the fact that it is an exhibition limits the opportunity for the chickens to express themselves
fully and interestingly as chickens as opposed to appearing as mere specimens. In addition, our organization has learned over the years about horrific
abuses of chickens, turkeys and quails at museum sites linked to the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums. Our experience
justifies our worries and intervention.
Finally, I urge you to allow the chickens to go to a sanctuary when you no longer intend to keep them, instead of killing them or sending them to a
slaughter facility. There are several excellent farmed animal sanctuaries you can contact about adopting them. Please go to our LINKS webpage and
scroll down a short ways to Farmed Animal Sanctuary Websites at http://www.upc-online.org/links.html. We will be happy to help you place your hens permanently in a sanctuary at your request.
Thank you once again for your reassurance that you and your staff will take good care of these birds who are dependent upon you. I hope that the Museum will express and experience kindness toward the chickens and that you will teach others by the example that you show.
Please feel free to contact me at any time for information or assistance on behalf of your chickens.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Chicken Care: http://www.upc-online.org/chickens
Hatching Good Lessons: http://www.upc-online.org/hatching/alternatives.html