Fall 2008 Poultry Press  

Canandaigua Academy Reneges on Pledge to End Chicken Slaughter Project, But the Project is Again on Hold Thanks to the NY State Education Department

High school teacher, Eric Cosman (right)

“‘We find ways to teach about situations that involve destructive behavior and killing other than re-enactment in a classroom,’ said Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns. . . . Davis said that if the school decides to continue the unit, the slaughtering of chickens should be videotaped so that the public can see what is being taught.” – James Goodman, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, June 12, 2008

In the Summer issue of Poultry Press, we gratefully announced: “Chicken Slaughter Project at Canandaigua Academy in New York Stopped Due to Public Outrage.” We invited our members to join us in thanking Lynne Erdle, principal of Canandaigua Academy (a high school in upstate New York), for stopping the killing of chickens in an ecology class that, in December 2007, slaughtered 21 chickens.

However, in July, the Canandaigua Daily Messenger reported that the May decision to stop the project was being reconsidered, and in early September, school administrators announced it would be offered as an elective, overseen by a “trained butcher” and other “experts” in an ecology class that raises, slaughters, and barbecues the chickens – airmailed from an Iowa hatchery for this purpose – following a recommendation by the Canandaigua school district’s “chicken project committee” – a rubber stamp committee with the token exception of animal advocate Joel Freedman, who resigned in disgust, and who, in December 2007, had met with school administrators to plead for the lives of the birds, only one of whom, a little rooster, was saved.

UPC President Karen Davis told Democrat and Chronicle reporter James Goodman, in an interview on September 3, “We’re totally disappointed that the school administration did not stand by its decision to eliminate the chicken slaughter. There is no need to slaughter the chickens to teach how food gets to the table.”

Here’s the Good News. As we go to press, the New York State Education Department has notified the Canandaigua City School District that, by law, it was required to have applied for a waiver from the Education Commission for this project, which the school district failed to do, but has since done upon being advised. Therefore, the project is again on hold pending an Education Department review and final decision regarding the legal status of the project under NYS Education Law Section 809 – Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals.


Section 809 of the New York State Education Law – Humane Treatment of Live Vertebrate Animals – provides that no school district, school principal, administrator or teacher shall require or permit the performance of a lesson or experimental study on a live vertebrate animal in any school or during any activity conducted under the auspices of a school where such lesson or experimental study employs termination of life. Our readers will be advised of the Education Department’s decision after it is announced. We hope for good news.

To learn more about our campaign to eliminate the chicken slaughter project, please visit www.upc-online.org/classroom/canandaigua.html.

Fall 2008 Poultry Press