Spring/Winter 1998 Poultry Press
UPC Inspires Improvements at Frying Pan Park

photo by Rona Klein
Daffodil enjoys life after her rescue from Frying Pan Park.

Last September, UPC visited Frying Pan Park, a self-styled preservation of traditional rural life located in Fairfax County Virginia outside Washington D.C. Phone calls from concerned citizens prompted this visit. There, we saw debeaked, huddled chickens, wretched turkeys, and an overall impoverished environment for the birds. (Frying Pan Park is where the Thanksgiving turkey, "pardoned" each year by the U.S. president, goes with his backup to live out the rest of his life.)

A poor environment is not only bad for the health and well-being of the birds; it perpetuates the false public stereotype that chickens and turkeys are naturally "dirty." and prefer squalor to cleanliness. UPC immediately wrote a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority and was pleased to receive in December, as promised, a report outlining significant improvements in the keeping of the birds including the discontinuation of debeaking.

Recently, UPC revisited the Park and was glad to see alert, fully-feathered hens and roosters enjoying a dustbath in fresh woodchips, tree-limbs to perch on, fresh greens and a much more cheerful atmosphere than before. The little house with four male turkeys was brighter and so were the turkeys. They too had the fresh greens that chickens and turkeys thrive on.

What Can I Do?
  • Visit the Park. It's free and open to the public from 10 AM to 6 PM 7 days a week. Take along some fresh kale, broccoli, and lettuce to give to the birds, and talk to them and the other animals and the staff at the Park. Express your appreciations, suggestions, and concerns to the Fairfax County Park Authority, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 927, Fairfax, VA 22035. Ph: 703-324-8728; fax: 3989. You can call the Park directly at 703-437-9101.
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