The following article in the Colorado
Springs Gazette (www.gazette.com)
on July 4 discusses United Poultry Concerns’ objection to
chicken-flying contests. It was prompted by a chicken-flying contest
held by Bill Soux in Guffey, Colorado, a tiny town 58 miles southwest
of Colorado Springs. A 3-year campaign by UPC in the 1990s led to
the end of a chicken-flying contest by Bob Evans Farms in Ohio in
1994. In 1994 UPC sponsored an on-site protest in Guffey, CO that
included members of United Poultry Concerns and Rocky Mountain Animal
Defense, who distributed UPC’s brochure Chicken-Flying
Contests-Cruel Fun to attendees. The Ute Pass Courier (7/16/1994)
reported the objections of United Poultry Concerns, Rocky Mountain
Animal Defense, and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal
Rights. UPC’s brochure is available online at http://upc-online.org/chicken_flying_contests.html
“Poultry activists oppose Guffey’s chicken
fly event” by Jeremy Meyer, The Gazette, July 4,
Today’s 17th annual chicken fly in Guffey is supposed to
be clean fun.
People pay to launch chickens off a 12-foot drop using a toilet
plunger to get them to “fly.”
But activists with United Poultry Concerns call it mean fun, saying
the event causes fear in the birds and teaches cruelty to defenseless
Karen Davis, president of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns,
has worked to shut down a similar festival in Ohio and said Guffey’s
event also should be stopped.
“It’s taking advantage of something that is defenseless,”
said Davis, who runs a sanctuary for rescued chickens in Machipongo,
“These people are taking helpless, unoffending birds who
have no idea what is being done to them. They are suddenly thrust
up 12 feet. The toilet plunger teaches that these birds aren’t
entitled to their feelings or fears.”
Five years ago, the United Poultry Concerns sent protesters to
the annual summer chicken drop in Guffey. Activists held signs and
chanted down participants but didn’t stop the activities.
Bill Soux, organizer of the chicken drop, said no bird has been
harmed in the event. He said he wouldn’t do it if they were.
He called it harmless fun to raise money for local charities.
Davis said there are no plans to protest today’s chicken
drop, which starts about 10 a.m. in the town west of Pikes Peak.
But she worries about the health of the poultry. Chickens may not
display obvious signs of injury from the 12-foot fall, but the drop
may hurt their joints.
“Even if you’re not physically causing harm you’re
causing fear,” she said. “You’re giving the idea
that it is fun to overpower and force those who are defenseless
to do things they wouldn’t normally do.”
CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-1623 or
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl: http://www.upc-online.org.