United Poultry Concerns May 27, 2001
UPC Activists Protest Jim Perdue Speech
at Wharton Business School Ceremony
May 23, 2001

"Tried to leaflet several gangster-looking types in black suits and sunglasses, also a short man in a tuxedo and bow tie; was one of them Perdue?"
      - Roberta Spivek, Protest Organizer

Letters and phone calls urging The Wharton School Family-Controlled Corporation Program to cancel its invitation to Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms to speak at its May 23 dinner honoring family firms did not lead to cancellation, so on May 23rd from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m., eight United Poultry Concerns protesters, organized by Philadelphia activist Roberta Spivek, leafleted and held posters outside the Benjamin Franklin House where the dinner was held. One of the protesters, a 4-year old girl "was more effective at getting some Wharton folks to take leaflets than we adults were," said Spivek. Veterinary ethics professor James Serpell, disgusted by Wharton's award, and a National Lawyers Guild legal observer joined the leafleting.

Describing the protest, Spivek said, "Had a brief drama with the Ben Franklin House manager, who thundered outside saying we needed a permit, and called the police. Fortunately, I had talked to Stefan Presser of the ACLU the night before who assured me of our rights. An activist lawyer happened to be passing by at the same moment the manager harassed us, so I was able to say calmly, 'Would you like to speak to our lawyer?' The manager backed down, and even took some literature and said he had no idea Perdue was so bad.

"We had enough folks to have a presence, with signs and leafleting, at both doors of the Ben Franklin House. About half the Wharton attendees refused to take leaflets. I'd say we distributed about 150 to 200 leaflets, which I made up, to Wharton folks, Ben Franklin tenants, and passersby. We gave out UPC brochures to folks who seemed interested in learning more, and receptive to our message, including a woman who owned a store next door, and was very impressed by our presence; a police civil affairs officer, who's stopped eating red meat and was very open to our message; and a Purdue University professor, who thanked us for being there.

"We held the 'Friends Not Food' and another sign at one entrance; a 'Chicks Need Their Mothers' at the other, with me holding the hanging, live birds picture in the middle of the entrance, over a slogan: 'Business Ethics 101?' I felt very frustrated by the 'See No Evil' Wharton reaction, so I was glad we had the graphic image. And a few people were drawn into conversation by asking, 'How are they killed?'"

UPC wishes to thank Jenny Remenschneider of Mobilization for Animals for alerting us to the Perdue speaking engagement after seeing the announcement in The Philadelphia Inquirer, and social justice activist Roberta Spivek, for leading the protest. We thank Roberta and her husband, who also protested, for making signs, and everyone who wrote to the Wharton School urging cancellation of Perdue and who joined the protest on Wednesday evening. Thank you!

Related links: United Poultry Concerns. May 27, 2001

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

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