United Poultry Concers
3 June 2010
Protest “Hammered Chicken” Contest in Baltimore Maryland, June 4

Baltimore Clayworks: http://www.baltimoreclayworks.org/event/fire-spice_contests.html

Baltimore City Paper (promoted the contest): http://www.citypaper.com/calendar/event.asp?whatid=142837

A company called Baltimore Clayworks is hosting a “hammered chicken” contest Friday evening June 4. Participants are encouraged to purchase a store-bought chicken, cover it with clay, then mold and decorate the clay into the shape of an actual live chicken, then bake it. After that, you hammer the clay open to remove the body and eat it. There are “winners” for decorations and taste. UPC wrote to Baltimore Clayworks today on why we oppose this contest, urging them to cancel it. Please join UPC in speaking out against the heartless mockery and abuse of chickens represented by this contest. Thank you.

Betsy Laucks
Baltimore Clayworks
5707 Smith Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21209
Via Email: betsy.laucks@baltimoreclayworks.org
Phone: 410-578-1119; 410-578-1919

Dear Betsy Laucks and Baltimore Clayworks:

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, I am writing to object to your “hammered chicken contest” on Friday, June 4. I urge you please to cancel it. My reasons are as follows.

Our organization is based on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula. For decades, the Delmarva chicken industry has been cited by environmental groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Assateague Coastal Trust, as the primary polluter of the Chesapeake Bay. On April 21, 2009, the PBS television series Frontline documented the deterioration of the Chesapeake Bay, including the proliferation of Dead Zones, resulting from the daily concentration of over 500 million chickens on this ecologically fragile and narrow peninsula that is only 50 miles wide and 150 miles long.

Each year, the Delmarva chicken industry produces 1.5 million metric tons of chicken manure, most of it going into the Chesapeake Bay, into groundwater, and on land that cannot absorb the amount of waste, an amount that Environmental Science says includes 20 to 50 metric tons of arsenic along with other chicken-industry pollutants. The store-bought chickens you are promoting for your contest almost certainly came from a Delmarva chicken company representing this destructive industry.

The chickens you are promoting for the contest spent their lives in dark, polluted sheds filled with toxic gases, bacteria, viruses, funguses, parasites, rodents, and powerful insecticides. The ammonia and other toxins in the sheds are so strong that your eyes and throat burn and nausea and vomiting occur. The chickens breathe and absorb this noxious mixture into the bodies you are eating. Poultry products are the primary source of food poisoning in the home. Consumer Reports routinely documents the contamination of store-bought chickens with Salmonella and Campylobacter food-poisoning bacteria.

The chickens themselves sit on crippled legs, in their own waste, from which they cannot escape. They sit among dead and dying birds diseased with necrotic enteritis, ascites and other human-created disease that constitutes the essence of the chicken industry. Every chicken you handle and eat endured the torture of paralytic electric shocks through their sensitive eyes, their eardrums, lungs, flesh and hearts. Did you know that the chickens try to hide their faces under each other’s wings as they hang upside down on the conveyer belt in the slaughterhouses waiting to be killed?

I hope you will decide that the “hammered chicken” contest is too heartless, lewd, mean and ugly and that you will choose a kinder form of entertainment and creativity that respects the dignity of life instead of its degradation. Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your response.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405
(757) 678-7875
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