Fall 2002 Poultry Press Recent Events
UPC President Dr. Karen Davis Presents Paper
at Yale University Chicken Conference

"For Karen Davis, founder of United Poultry Concerns, the most sobering plight is that of the chicken itself." - The New York Sun, May 20, 2002

"Panelist Karen Davis, founder of the chicken advocacy group United Poultry Concerns, was relentless on the issue of slaughtering practices. She distributed literature and charged that the conference at times "celebrated the exploitation of the chicken.' " - Hartford Courant, May 20, 2002

A conference on "The Chicken: Its Biological, Social, Cultural, and Industrial History" was held at Yale University, May 17 - 19, 2002. It included poultry industry representatives and adversaries, environmentalists, food analysts, small-scale farming advocates, and scholars on the uses of chickens in various cultures. Karen Davis sat on a panel on The Chicken in Folklore and Symbolism where she presented a paper on "The Dignity, Beauty, and Abuse of Chickens: As Symbols and in Reality."

In their different ways, Karen Davis and panelist Michael Watts of UC-Berkeley both emphasized the "double imprisonment" of chickens in modern industrial poultry production. In "The Age of the Chicken," Watts discussed the "disappearance and extinction of animals," not through species extinction, but "through an act of incarceration." He spoke of how the poultry environment is a place of "alienation, lethargy, isolation, confinement and boredom" in which billions of birds are reduced to being "sites of accumulation" imprisoned in "enormous quantities of flesh around a distorted skeleton."

In "The Dignity, Beauty, and Abuse of Chickens," Karen Davis explained how chickens raised for meat are twice imprisoned -- first by being locked inside genetically-impaired bodies that thwart their inherent nature, and secondly by being locked up in toxic waste environments that are as alien to the evolution and psyches of chickens as the bodies they are forced to live in- those painfully fragile, bloated, dysfunctional, cement-heavy bodies whose only purpose is to become "meat."

...the suffering and abuse of chickens in food production is just as intense as in cockfighting, and on a much vaster scale.
—Wayne Pacelle

In "Cockfighting in the United States: A Political and Cultural Examination," Wayne Pacelle of The Humane Society of the United States graphically described the cruelty of cockfighting, while stressing that the suffering and abuse of chickens in food production is just as intense as in cockfighting, and on a much vaster scale. He said it is as ethically incumbent to become a vegan as it is to oppose cockfighting. Pacelle recalled his own decision, years earlier, as a student at Yale where: "I stopped eating eggs, 'poultry,' and everything that comes from an animal."

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