Illustration By: Gregg Schindler
In September 21, 2005, UPC President Karen Davis presented our video, Behavior of Rescued Factory Farmed Chickens in a Sanctuary Setting, at the Future Trends in Animal Agriculture Symposium, an annual U.S. Department of Agriculture meeting on the use of animals in food production. For years UPC has urged that these meetings allow farmed animal sanctuary directors to present their knowledge of the animals who, though the focal point of discussion, seldom appear in the purview of the platform speakers.
This year, for the first time, attendees got to see our sanctuary birds on the Big Screen: Running! Eating Lettuce! Dustbathing! Perching! Socializing! Having Fun! – things agribusiness would like us to think “poultry” don’t do anymore thanks to genetic selection for voluminous weight gain and egg production. Wrong!
This year some industry people boycotted the meeting for being “too animal rights.” As well, some animal rights advocates have opposed our taking part in meetings that, in the words of one, seek “to absorb animal rights advocates’ time and give the appearance of bestowing insider status as a way of ‘feeding the crocodile.’”
Notwithstanding, UPC has attended Future Trends meetings since 1990, seizing every microphone opportunity to speak up for the birds. We go to these meetings to correct misinformation that
otherwise goes unchallenged and to hear what industry is saying. We go to show that our side is well-informed and that when they say we don’t understand “food” animals, and that “food” animals are treated “humanely,” we can tackle these claims head on. UPC believes that the voices of animals and their advocates should be heard at these meetings. Not all attendees are unreachable, and students sometimes sit in. Filmmaker Woody Allen said success goes to those who “show up.” The animals can’t make the meetings that deliberate their fate – all the more reason for us to be there, clucking as hard as we can.
- Behavior of Rescued Factory Farmed Chickens in a Sanctuary Setting is available from UPC on VHS and DVD. $10 includes shipping. Order by check or money order, or use your credit card at www.upc-online.org.
- Future Trends in Animal Agriculture will send you a free copy of the proceedings on “Certification and Education Programs: Current Status of Farm Animal Welfare,” September 21, 2005 symposium. To order contact:
Richard Reynnells, National Program Leader, Animal Production Systems
US Department of Agriculture
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service
800 9th St, SW, Room 3140 Waterfront Centre
Washington, DC 20250-2220
Phone: 202-401-5352. Fax: 202-401-6156