United Poultry Concerns
Promoting the compassionate and respectful
treatment of domestic fowl

PO Box 150 • Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(757) 678-7875 • FAX (757) 678-5070

May 31, 2002
Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
Guinea Fowl Drop is Cruel and Must Be Stopped
"Dropping the birds from that high place is contrary to all proper care and treatment of any fowl and should not be condoned by those interested in animal welfare." —Dr. Fred Thornberry, Professor and Poultry Specialist, Texas A&M University

Machipongo, VA - Following a 3-year hiatus, the Quitaque, Texas Chamber of Commerce is again planning to drop guinea fowl from a moving aircraft 500 feet or more above the ground on Saturday June 1. Two drops are scheduled: 11:15 AM and 4:00 PM. This witless cruelty is this town's way of observing National Trails Day, a project of the American Hiking Society devoted to cultivating a nation of hikers dedicated to "protecting and maintaining foot trails in America."

In 1998, the chief promoter of the "guinea fowl drop," Roy Pigg, was murdered by a townsman three days before the guinea fowl drop, but the animal cruelty stunt was held anyway. In 1999, Quitaque Chamber of Commerce president Bill Smith stopped the drop out of concern with "liability issues." He told the Avalanche-Journal (June 4, 1999) he feared some member of the mob chasing down the traumatized birds could "fall out of a tree or off the top of a house." So instead the town "replaced the drop with a bed race, where contestants board a bed with wheels holding a guinea fowl and race to the bottom of a hill."

Guinea fowl are shy, high-strung birds. They are poor flyers. They never rise anywhere close to a 500-foot altitude. Being dropped from a moving aircraft is alien to these birds' evolutionary experience. Being dropped straight down from a 500-foot moving height is totally different from a bird's preparing to take off from a branch. These birds could easily sustain internal injuries. Let the town drop inanimate objects that land indeterminately, like biodegradable balsam-wood airplanes.

In a phone interview on May 30, Dr. Fred Thornberry, Professor and Extension Poultry Specialist at Texas A&M University condemned the "guinea fowl drop." Dr. Thornberry said, "It would be an experience the birds would not enjoy. Treating these birds that way-dropping them from that high place-is contrary to all proper care and treatment of any fowl, and should not be condoned by those interested in animal welfare."

United Poultry Concerns is calling upon the Quitaque Chamber of Commerce--anyone who will step in--to cancel the guinea fowl drop immediately. It is stupifyingly cruel and has nothing to do with National Trails Day. For more information call Karen Davis at 757-678-7875.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit www.UPC-online.org

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