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

2 5June 2003

Karen Davis 757-678-7875

United Poultry Concerns (UPC) Condemns Fox Broadcasting for Promoting Bird Abuse for Ratings, People are Urged to Protest

“It was sadistic cruelty, a pathetic effort on the part of people with a distorted moral system, a non-functional conscience. For Fox television to titillate the sadistic impulses of this kind of viewer is ugly, mean and cruel.”– UPC President Karen Davis, San Francisco Examiner, 6/24/2003.

Machipongo, Va – On Saturday, June 21, a hen was lifted 40 feet in the air with balloons tied to her body in San Francisco to promote a new Fox TV show, “Banzai.” The orange-red hen was tangled in power lines when Park Station Lt. Mark Swendsen shot pellets into the balloons enabling her to be rescued after the power was shut off. She was taken to San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control office where she is said to be recovering from the abuse she received and is expected to be adopted.

Lt. Swendsen told UPC: “We saw a bunch of balloons stuck in high voltage wires and saw there was a bird in there, a hen. The Fire Department said because of the high voltage and too many balloons we couldn’t get the hen down, so I got a pellet gun and shot a lot of the balloons without hurting the hen. About 150 balloons had been tied to her body with rope and wire.”

The next evening Fox aired a primetime ad showing “the TV show host tying balloons to a frightened hen,” wrote a viewer to UPC via email on Monday.

Lt. Swendsen told the San Francisco Examiner that Fox will do anything to get ratings; “it shows no soul and no conscience. Nothing is ever taught of any significance to children except by example. Kids have no understanding of the consequence of things. If you show it on TV, they are going to do it,” he said.

Fox representative Scott Grodin (scottgro@fox.com) told UPC there is “no empirical evidence” that Fox put the hen into the air, and that the TV host tying balloons to a hen was “a promo that conveyed that idea,” and that “a hen may be sent up” and aired on Fox television again.

“We are asking Fox quite simply to stop their cruelty or to confine it to those who can dish it back and to drop their sleeze in the quest for imitation,” says UPC President Karen Davis. “Neither guts nor brains contributes to tormenting a helpless animal. Kids may have no understanding of the consequence of things, but the Fox people do, and they are obviously and intentionally fomenting trouble for animals, children, and the community.” As Lt. Swendsen told the Examiner, ‘Fox ought to be ashamed of themselves.’”

Protest to Fox Broadcasting Company:

Gail Berman, President
FBC Entertainment Group
10201 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: 310-369-7595
Fax: 310-969-0546

Roland McFarland
Broadcast Standards & Practices
PO Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213-0900
Phone: 310-369-3445
Fax: 310-369-1728

Please click here to view the article by J.K. Dineen in The San Francisco Examiner, “Officials: TV Promo sent hen skyward” published 06/24/2003. http://www.examiner.com/news/default.jsp?story=n.chicken.0624w

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. http://www.upc-online.org


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