Fall 1997 Poultry Press

UPC Rallies For Hens
at Horizon High School

in Phoenix, Arizona

"Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns, a national poultry rights group, came from Maryland to lead the protest."
Paradise Valley Independent, Aug. 20-26, 1997, front page.

On August 14th, the first day of classes, United Poultry Concerns held a protest rally in front of Horizon High School at 7:00 AM as students were filing in. 30 protesters announced via banner, signs, and bullhorn: ANIMAL ABUSE IN ARIZONA ISN'T A PRANK, IT'S A CRIME; THIS SCHOOL NEEDS A CODE OF ETHICS NOT A COVER-UP; BUILD COMPASSION AND A RESPECT FOR LIFE!

photo by Treva Slote

Why: On April 11, 1997, a gang of Horizon High School seniors released 40 to 50 bound hens on school property and proceeded to abuse and kill them for fun. They threw hens over the fence, breaking their legs, and onto the school roof, and into lockers. The body of a hen with her legs tied was pulled out of a school trash can and aired on TV that night. Feathers matted with dried blood were held up to the camera.

Animal abuse is against the law in Arizona. A person commits cruelty to animals who recklessly subjects any animals or poultry to cruel mistreatment. Dee Kotinas, Executive Director of the Animals Benefit Club of Arizona, filed cruelty charges the next day to no avail.

However, the Phoenix Police Department Report shows cruelty that should have led to the issuing of subpoenas. It shows the inaction and virtual complicity of the Phoenix police and the school security guards who were there when the assault took place. According to a senior, "Phoenix police officers were present at the school and Kevin [Yule, a senior] asked an officer if it was okay to bring the chickens onto campus and he was informed it was okay. The chickens were tied together at their feet with string." A school security guard, Kathy Morton, watched "one male throw four chickens tied together over the fence into the junior [parking] lot. . . . He threw the chickens back over the fence." She did not bother to identify the student or the condition of the birds being thrown back and forth over the fence tied together like a bunch of grapes.

A Phoenix newscaster pulls a dead hen from a trash can at Horizon High School.

photos courtesy of KTVK-Ch 3

Where Did the Chickens Come From?
They came from Hickman's Egg Ranch, a caged-layer complex in Glendale, AZ. Purchase of the hens was taped by Hickman's camera. It showed "four white males, about 18 years of age, purchasing the chickens at $2.00 apiece. If the persons buying the chickens did not have cages or boxes for the chickens to be transported in, then Hickmans takes one leg of three or four chickens and ties them together in a group. Since this was the case with the students, they were given in groups of 4 chickens tied together."

Brutal Treatment of Laying Hens is Standard Procedure
Glen Hickman told police they "received a shipment of 72,000 chickens. 600 of the chickens had died in transport and they died within 50 miles of where they were shipped from. One time he took 60 chickens out of their cages and tied them together. He then transported them 17 miles to another chicken ranch and they were then put into the same type of cages they had been in at Hickmans. Within three days five of the chickens had died. It is very common for chickens to die after being transported. Glen also related that people buy chickens from him as live feed for their pet snakes. Glen is in the business of selling eggs and chickens, not puppies."

Administrative Flippancy and Contradiction:
Despite the evidence, Horizon principal John Stollar wrote a letter to "Horizon Patron" claiming, "There was no mayhem, there was no mutilation, there was no chaos." (School security guard Bruce Davis told police: "It was chaos there with the chickens, the water balloons, the shaving cream, and the locked gates" including "dead chickens in the parking lot.") Stollar says "there is absolutely no evidence of abuse or any other kind of mayhem perpetrated on chickens at Horizon High School, yet "On Monday morning, following the Friday event, I addressed the student body, told them of my indignation, of the panic, as well as the cruelty to animals."

A graduate student at a local university said Stollar, who taught one of his classes, treated the affair in front of his students as "A REAL FUNNY SQUAWKING JOKING MATTER." Is it any wonder Horizon seniors made t-shirts and wore them under their gowns at their graduation ceremony boasting: "I choked a chicken at Horizon," and "The Great Horizon Chicken Massacre of 97"?

Meeting with John Stollar.
Following the rally, UPC president, Karen Davis, and Dee Kotinas, Director of the Animals Benefit Club of AZ, met with the principal, John Stollar. They offered to draft a School Code of Ethical Conduct Towards Animals, but pointed out that respect for life must come from the administration to replace the attitude that told students that abusing animals is just a "prank" as was sneered by the soccer coach on TV the day of the massacre.

United Poultry Concerns wishes to thank everyone who joined in the rally, with special thanks to following people: Dee Kotinas, director of the Animals Benefit Club of Arizona; Treva Slote, director of the Arizona SPCA. Lynda Foro, President of Doing Things for Animals, Inc.; Joyce DePalma, Arizona People for Animal Rights; and Phoenix City Councilwoman Frances Emma Barwood, who condemned the massacre and called for a police investigation. At the rally Barwood told reporters, "pranks are an important and fun part of the high school experience, but they should not include malicious acts involving live animals. . . [W]hat happened here was not funny. It was pain cruel."

What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?

  • You may thank Phoenix City Councilwoman, Frances Emma Barwood, by writing to her at City Hall, 200 W. Washington St., 11th Fl, Phoenix, AZ 85003. In addition to her many other acts of kindness and support, Councilwoman Barwood's office provided UPC and the Animals Benefit Club with copies of the police report.

  • Write to James Jurs, Superintendent, Paradise Valley Unified School District Superintendent, 15002 North 32nd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85032 (ph: 607-867-5104). The school district needs to develop and enforce a policy banning the use of animals for entertainment or ceremony in connection with any school function or activity, with strong disciplinary action for infractions. Among penalties offenders should be barred from participation in their graduation ceremony and be forced to receive their diploma by mail.

  • Write to the principal, John Stollar. He has already been flooded with protest letters, many of them from teachers, from as far away as Israel. Write: John Stollar, Principal, Horizon High School, 5601 E. Greenway Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

  • For a copy of police report #70-587870, send a written request + check for $6.00 payable to the City of Phoenix Treasurer. Include a brief description of the 25-page report and whether you are using it for commercial purposes. Address: Phoenix Police Department, Attn: Public Records Counter, 620 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85003.

  • Please help United Poultry Concerns with a donation. UPC spent over $1,000.00 for round-trip airfare, banner + shipping, display photos derived from TV newscasts, investigative phone calls & faxes to Phoenix, and mailings to city and school officials, news media, and UPC members in Arizona. Your tax-deductible donations are what enable United Poultry Concerns to conduct vigorous campaigns like this one on behalf of abused chickens.

    Yes! I want to contribute $_____________ to assist UPC's effort against the Horizon High School Hen Massacre. I want to make sure that UPC can continue to act vigorously on behalf of chickens and other domestic fowl.

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