United Poultry Concers
29 March 2010
“Cruelty is criminal” – Letter to the Editor in Today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10088/1046393-110.stm

UPC President Karen Davis’ Letter refers to “CMU looks into the case of spray-painted chickens: Woman now caring for 9 hens says they were treated cruelly,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 18, 2010. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10077/1043755-298.stm .


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, duckling 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 CarnegieMellonUniversity. They should be suspended, expelled and prevented from graduating. 

United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, Va.

The writer’s organization is a nonprofit that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl (www.upc-online.org).

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