United Poultry Concerns August 7, 2000
TIME Magazine Article: "My Chicken Run"

Karen Davis wrote a letter in response the the below article "My Chicken Run" by Joel Stein, which appeared in the august 7th issue of Time Magazine. People are encouraged to read the below article and write a response.
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  • TIME Magazine Letters
    Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center
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"My Chicken Run"
by Joel Stein
August 7, 2000

I don't care about animals. I'm pro-fur and pro-animal testing and though it's not my preferred method of gambling, cockfighting is fine with me. But I do love mischief. And from what I can tell, the animal-loving freaks at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are the only ones having any fun. So I called Tracy Reiman, leader of PETA's Commando Chicks, a group of women who dress in skimpy showgirl outfits to protest chicken eating. These women were willing to degrade themselves for animals. That is so hot.

Tracy told me I could join them on their first action: a supermarket raid for which I'd wear a giant chicken suit and label chicken products with stickers that read "Warning: This package contains the decomposing corpse of a small tortured bird." When I asked her about the possibility of getting arrested, she said, "For people who work hard, jail offers a nice time just to relax." I told Tracy that things were probably a little different in the men's jail than the women's. "When you're in jail, it's good to remember that there are animals in cages who never get to leave," she added. I pointed out that caged animals aren't often forced to be the "Jenny" of a larger, tattooier caged animal.

Last Tuesday, I met the Commando Chicks outside the Acme in Wilmington, Del., the heart of chicken-raising country. As we approached the store, the manager came out to accuse us of trespassing and block our entrance. The women snuck in the exit, and when the manager went to chase them, I walked in. By the time I got to the chicken section, there were quite a number of customers gathered around. I delivered my lines-"Stay away from the birds!" and "Give a cluck!"-to which one woman yelled, "I'm going to have myself a nice, juicy chicken!" and two old guys started making vehement booking noises at me. One woman asked if pork was O.K. "Go ahead! Eat all the pork you can!" I squawked. The Commando Chicks weren't too happy with that one.

That's when the police came and asked us to leave. I left. The women, however, continued to sticker the chicken. Waddling toward the exit, I grabbed a bottle of water from the shelves, thinking three things: 1) I sure am thirsty in this burning-hot chicken outfit, 2) it would be funny to stand in line in a chicken outfit, and 3) if they serve me as a customer, it's no longer trespassing. I know this isn't Brandeis-level legal thought, but I was wearing a giant chicken outfit at the time. Those judicial robes are free-flowing for a reason.

Unfortunately, owing to the vision limitations of the chicken head, I picked a very long line. Eventually, my three half-naked friends and Officer Pigford joined me while I waited for a woman to use both coupons and a check to by her groceries. It was eerily quiet until a baby looked at me and started to cry. After I finally reached into my chicken pants and paid for the water, we were met by three more officers outside.

They took Polaroids of us, including one with my chicken head on, and let us go. As we parted, I looked down at my new friends' glowing faces, or thereabouts, and felt connected. They may not be able to distinguish animals from people, but they sure know how to have fun. Still, I wouldn't choose them over a heaping plate of Buffalo wings.

United Poultry Concerns. August 7, 2000

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

(Action Alert - TIME Magazine Article: "My Chicken Run")