Winter 99/00 Poultry Press Action Alert
Violence in the Schools?
Check Out the Classroom
Schools teach attitudes to students as well as practices. Science programs, in particular, may teach respect for life, or they may promote flippancy and cruelty, as part of an "experimental" and "aggressive" approach to careers and grades. Sensitive students are often coerced into silence by teachers who hold grades and recommendations over their heads, and by classmates whose violent tendencies are rewarded by programs that incorporate animal abuse in the name of science. This hostile aggressive situation may go on for years.

In December, United Poultry Concerns succeeded in stopping one of these programs, the "Chick Hormone Lab." The name of the school district is being withheld in keeping with our agreement that if the school district stopped the program, we would withhold its name. We worked closelye with a local animal advocacy group in responding to a call for help from a handful or outraged parents and students whom school district administrators were ignoring. We got their attention

The Chick Hormone Lab For 20 years, the school district has had a course in which high school biology students inject sex hormones (testosterone and follicle stimulating hormone), saline solution, and sesame oil into the legs, wings, and thighs of baby chicks in order to observe the effects. At least 140-150 chicks are subjected to this experiment each year. The surviving chicks- -filled with the hormones, sesame oil, saline solution, and possible infection from repeated needle injections administered by students--are then (said to be) chloroformed to death by the teacher unseen by the students.

A reason why this type of experiment goes on is that birds, rats, and mice are excluded, not from the federal Animal Welfare Act, but from the federal regulations needed to enforce the Act. Why? because the U.S. Department of Agriculture refuses to fulfill its mandate to regulate the treatment of birds, rats and mice under the Animal Welfare Act. Thus a school may do unspeakable things to birds, rats, and mice--things they cannot do to dogs and cats- -under the contention that birds, rats, and mice are not regulated. This invocation of unaccountability is another lesson such a school is teaching its students.

At the same time, the federal Animal Welfare Act defines an animal research facility as any school "except an elementary or secondary school." It does not say "except in the case of birds, rats, and mice." Under federal law, an elementary or secondary school, by definition, is not an animal research facility.

The BSCS hormone "investigation" into "The behaviour and Development of Chicks," is not only cruel, it is scientifically absurd. Sex hormones interact synergistically within the biological and behavioral systems of adult birds. There is no parallel in nature to adult sex hormones circulating in the body of a baby bird, nor is there any parallel to injections of sesame oil and saline solution in birds of any age. The experiment has no relevance to anything in the natural world.

What Can I Do?
  • Get involved in student programs in your community. Find out what is being taught by the schools and by the scouts. If kids are learning from adults that "it's cool to be cruel," strenuously object. Call your local TV and radio stations and write letters to the editor. Publicize the problem. Talk to the school principal, the teacher, the school superintendent, the scout leader. The animals need your help. So do the students. Thank you for getting involved.
Winter 99/00 Poultry Press Action Alert