United Poultry Concerns February 23, 2003

Chickens to Be Used by U.S. Military in Iraq
What You Can Do to Protest

On February 19, 2003, Time (Magazine) Europe announced that U.S. troops would use chickens to detect chemical attacks in Iraq: "Worried that the pollution from blown oil installations will clog up complicated detection equipment and make it difficult to pick up deadly chemicals and nerve agents, U.S. marines and soldiers will drive into battle across the dusty plains of Iraq with caged chickens atop their Hum-Vees."

The Time Europe article "Chickens to Be Used By U.S. Military to Detect Deadly Chemicals in Iraq" is available under "What's New" at


  • Seize every opportunity you can to write letters to the editor and participate in call-in talk radio shows. Look for media opportunities to make your voice heard.

  • Write a short letter to the editor of Time Europe:; and to Time Magazine in NYC:;
    fax: 212-522-8949; regular mail: Time Magazine, Letters, Time-Life
    Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, NY 10020.

  • Educate your family, friends & colleagues.

  • Contact The Honorable George W. Bush
    President of the United States
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20500
    Fax: 202-456-2461

  • Contact your U.S. Senators and House Representative. To find your U.S. members of Congress, visit

Things to Consider:

1. With its stupendous budget, high-tech weaponry and scientists, the U.S. military could develop highly sensitive technical sensors to pick up deadly chemicals and nerve agents amid other pollution including the pollution from blown oil. The article quotes the military as saying that chickens are "one of the best ways" to detect the deadly chemicals, indicating that the military has other ways to do it. That a military
capable of blowing up the world must rely on chickens to detect lethal agents is ludicrous.

2. Some radio talk show hosts have told UPC that using chickens for this purpose is justified because chickens are cheaper than complex technology; these same people then turn around to insist that no expense should be spared "to save human lives and American troops." So how do they justify using a "cheap" detection device for such an important mission as "saving human lives and American troops"? Why stint on that aspect of the war?

3. Many chickens will die of stress simply in being driven across a toxic war-torn desert terrain in cages on top of military tanks. How will the soldiers know in time to put on their gas masks, or what killed
the chickens, or even that one or more birds is dead? Imagine this scene in the midst of an actual battle.

The Time Europe article concludes with a complaint by a U.S. Marines officer in Kuwait, regarding Saddam Hussein, that "Using chemicals is a really unfair way of fighting." It may be pointed out that forcing innocent birds to participate in human warfare isn't a fair way of fighting either.

Ten Top Reasons Why Animal Liberation Activists Must Join the Peace Movement
@ (anti-copyright) pattrice le-muire jones
Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary

1. Because war and animal exploitation are two expressions of the same cultural orientation toward domination rather than cooperation.

2. Because we believe that human and non-human animals deserve the same compassion and respect and therefore we must care about both the human children and the animals who will be terrified, killed, injured, displaced, and orphaned by war.

3. Because peace activists are compassionate people who might over time be convinced to extend their compassion to non-human animals.

4. Because wartime constraints on civil liberties have already jeopardized and will continue to jeopardize our ability to advocate for animals.

5. Because, if we ever wish to gain the support of a critical mass of people, the animal liberation movement cannot afford to remain estranged from other social justice movements.

6. Because the United States military practices vivisection on a massive scale, testing conventional, chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons on animals.* (see below)

7. Because military attacks on urban spaces terrify, kill, displace, and bereave companion animals.

8. Because military attacks on rural locations terrify, kill, and bereave farmed animals.

9. Because bombs and biological weapons destroy habitats and poison the environment upon which all animals depend for sustenance.

10. Because bullets, bombs, and biological weapons don't distinguish between human and non-human animals.

*GULF WAR CHEMICALS TESTED ON CHICKENS. "Because it was difficult to know just how much insecticide or anti-nerve gas medicine individuals in the Gulf War were exposed to, we tried a variety of combinations in the chickens." - Dr. Mohamed Abou-Donia quoted in "Death, Nerve Damage Seen in Chickens Given DEET/Pyridostigmine," Pesticide & Toxic Chemical News, April 12, 1995, p. 36.

For a summary of these experiments, see Chapter 4 of "The Experimental Use of Chickens and Other Birds in Biomedical and Agricultural Research" by Karen Davis at / I Need Information / Experimental Research.

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.


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

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