Summer 2010 Poultry Press NEXT
Chickens Cruelly Spray-Painted at Carnegie Mellon University

“Beth McMaster, a wildlife rehabilitator in Butler County [Pennsylvania] who is caring for the birds, two of whom are sick, said it strikes her as a case of animal cruelty. She said the school owes the public an accounting of what happened and should punish whoever is responsible.” - “CMU looks into the case of spray-painted chickens” by Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 18, 2010

“CRUELTY IS CRIMINAL,” Letter to the Editor by UPC President Karen Davis. Published in the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette, March 29, 2010

Under the Pennsylvania animal cruelty law 5511(b), a person commits a summary offense if he colors, stains, dyes or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl or rabbits. Accordingly, those responsible for spraying paint on the feathers and face of nine or more hens at Carnegie Mellon University should be identified and charged with animal cruelty. This cruelty should not be treated as a student “prank” and it certainly would not be if instead of chickens the mistreated animals were dogs or cats.

Spray paints are toxic if ingested, and spray paint cans carry warnings about the danger of breathing the vapors from these paints. Spray paint will definitely contribute to eye and respiratory problems in chickens, and spray paint oil is virtually impossible to remove from feathers and skin. Chickens will naturally preen their feathers to try to remove the paint which in turn will lead them to ingest the paint with probable harmful effects.

The people who did this heartless thing to helpless birds should be charged and prosecuted for their criminal activity. In addition, if they are students, they should be significantly punished by Carnegie Mellon University. They should be suspended, expelled and prevented from graduating. - Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns

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Photo: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Carnegie Mellon University told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the university is investigating who is responsible for spraying these chickens with paint and releasing them in campus buildings, and that “disciplinary action” may be taken. Please join UPC in urging CMU’s president, Dr. Jared L. Cohon, that whoever did this brutal act be held accountable. Urge furthermore that CMU create, distribute and enforce a written Animal Abuse Policy prohibiting animal abuse practices on campus. Request a written reply.

Dr. Jared L. Cohon, President
Office of the President
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-2000
Email via CMU Website:
Summer 2010 Poultry Press NEXT