Winter 2002 Poultry Press Action Alert
Dallas Zoo Froze "Children's Zoo"
Chicks, Then Fires Caring Employee

"Putting these baby birds who crave and need warmth into a freezer is kind of the ultimate cruelty." –UPC President Karen Davis quoted in "Frozen City," Dallas Observer. Nov. 22, 2001

"We want to give the children of Dallas an opportunity to connect with the chicken."Charles Siegel, Deputy Director for Animal Management, Dallas Observer, Feb. 15, 2001

"It seems that the reason for my discharge is the fact that I have a conscience."Joe Harvey quoted in the Dallas Observer, Nov. 22, 2001

On February 15, 2001, the Dallas Observer reported that the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo, which is part of the Dallas Zoo, gasses, refrigerates, or throws in the garbage twelve more or chicks every week. The zoo told reporter Charles Siderius that its CO2 chamber is "humane" and that the children's zoo experience is "educational." Nine months later Siderius reported that Dallas Zoo employee Joe Harvey was fired for saving 12 chicks who were supposed to have been "humanely" gassed the day before, then frozen as captive carnivore food.

Discovered by one of Harvey's coworkers, the 12 living chickens "were huddled and shivering," surrounded by the 12 chicks who froze to death in the sub- zero walk-in freezer overnight. "I decided that the surviving chicks would not be gassed," Harvey said. "They had lived through a night of living hell and would not be subjected to the indignation of being killed after that. I wasn't going to allow it." When the zoo learned of Harvey's action, they fired him.

The Dallas Observer's February 2001 revelation of the gassing of the chicks who were first "petted" by Children's Zoo visitors noted that zoo administrators were "quietly talking about expanding the baby-petting program to include guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, and quail." But soon after Harvey was fired, another episode leaked in which "all but one of two dozen doomed baby chicks starved to death in the gas chamber awaiting execution (for three days)." Zoo officials closed the chick exhibit in November 2001.

UPC President - stated in the November 2001 Dallas Observer article that the zoo's abuse of the chicks is "part of the general total lack of respect for or empathy with the lives of these birds. [W]hen you are using creatures in this totally exploitative and cynical way in order to promote business, it leads to an atrocity as this exemplifies." Davis said that while it's good that the zoo closed the exhibit, "the practice of keeping predatory birds and other creatures in cages just so people can look at them is wrong. You've got fundamental problem in the very nature of the zoo."

Links to the two Dallas Observer articles:
"Chick Fillet":
"Frozen Food":
Tell the Dallas Zoo to keep the chick exhibit permanently closed and not to expand the "petting zoo" by adding more animals. Contact:
Rich Buickerood, Director
Dallas Zoo
650 South R L Thornton Freeway
Dallas, TX 75203
Ph: 214-670-5656
Fax: 214-670-7450

See Karen Davis's article "The Difference Between the Dallas Zoo and McDonald's"

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