United Poultry Concerns August 13 , 2003

MTV “Road Rules” Executive Producers Need To Hear From Us

A recent episode of the MTV show “Road Rules” featured youngsters with a “survival” choice of living in a cabin with food provided or living outdoors and killing a chicken. According to a viewer who contacted UPC, one of the characters began cutting the chicken’s throat with a knife, bringing cries of pain and suffering from the bird. The character then killed the chicken with an ax. The killing reportedly was aired up to the point where the bird was decapitated.

What Can I Do
Protest to the show’s producers and to MTV’s owner, Viacom. Tell your local TV stations not to run (or rerun) the chicken-killing episode. Urge Mr. Murray, Ms. Bunim, and Mr. Karmazin to establish and enforce a “No Animal Abuse” policy, and request a written response. The creators of these “reality” shows are using cruelty to animals unprotected by the Animal Welfare Act – birds, rats, mice, and farmed animals – to get ratings. Parents, teachers, religious individuals/groups and others concerned about violence in society need to exert pressure on the makers, owners, and distributors of these shows. UPC is currently seeking legal clarification regarding these intentional violations of state anti-cruelty laws.

Please contact:
Jonathan Murray and Mary Ellis Bunim, Executive Producers
Road Rules
6007 Sepulveda Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
Phone: 818-756-5100
Fax: 818-756-5140
(No email)

Mel Karmazin, CEO
1515 Broadway, 52 Floor
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-258-6000
Fax: 212-846-1980

UPC Letter to Jonathan Murray, Executive Producer of “Road Rules”

I respectfully draw your attention to the recent “Road Rules” episode in which a chicken was reportedly killed with a knife and an ax. On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, a national nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl, I urge you to pull the reruns of this killing, and to prohibit the making and airing of any further episodes of animal abuse on your network programs.

Animal abuse episodes like this incite people without compassion or conscience to imitate you. They sneak into refuges and zoos and beat captive birds to death; they enter parks and lure geese with food to beat them to death; they kill birds with meat cleavers for “art,” and perform other acts of cowardly cruelty against innocent creatures. Cruelty to animals is a crime in every state. Recent court decisions, such as “people v. Thomason (2000) 84 Cal. Appellate 4th 1064, 1056-1066, have held that animals who are legally classed as “killable” in one legal context (e.g., as a danger to health or property) are not thereby to be understood as being legally abandoned to animal abusers seeking by the intentional infliction of suffering and death to sell videos and “entertainment.”

Please prohibit any further hurting and killing of birds and other animals on “Road Rules” and any other shows over which you have jurisdiction. Please establish a “No Animal Abuse” policy, and enforce it. Will you do this, please?

I trust that you will set the standards requested and look forward to your letter of response. Thank you for your attention.
Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.

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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