United Poultry Concerns August,23 2004

UPC Action Alert and Fundraiser

American Veterinary Medical Association Will No Longer Support Starving Hens
"Neither food nor water should be withdrawn." - AVMA Resolution

Photo By: Mercy for Animals

August-September 2004
Dear Friend,

In a surprise show of compassion for millions of suffering chickens, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) voted at its annual meeting on July 23, in Philadelphia, to stop supporting the factory-farm practice of starving hens to manipulate egg production - the practice known as forced molting.

The surprise came after the AVMA had stated its intention to reject a resolution presented for the 6th year by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights to cease support for a cruelty so traumatic it wrecks the birds' immunity making them prey to diseases including Salmonella poisoning. No longer can egg producers invoke AVMA support for this horrific abuse of chickens for profit.

United Poultry Concerns has worked for 11 years to get the AVMA to stop supporting the egg industry's practice of starving hens to manipulate egg production. We launched our campaign in a letter to the AVMA on June 8, 1993. On September 28, 1998, UPC sponsored the first animal rights protest ever held at the AVMA's headquarters, in Schaumburg, Illinois, with a banner proclaiming THE AVMA SUPPORTS STARVING HENS.

In the 1990s, United Poultry Concerns and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights published op-eds in newspapers around the country including The Chicago Tribune (03/ 31/1999), arguing that "Instead of condoning the starvation of hens for profit, the AVMA should stand up for the hens."

United Poultry Concerns protested at the AVMA convention last summer in Denver and at the AVMA convention this summer in Philadelphia. On June 21, 2004, UPC joined Animal Rights International, PETA, and AVAR in sponsoring a scathing full-page ad in The New York Times : "Has anyone betrayed more animals than the American Veterinary Medical Association?"

"The AVMA's turnaround on forced molting shows how important it is for animal advocates to persist in their battles on behalf of suffering animals," says UPC President Karen Davis. "When appeals to conscience fail, public exposure is the next step. It is no longer 'humane' to starve hens, just as we said all along."

We thank everyone who responded to our Action Alerts for over a decade urging the AVMA to oppose forced molting by starving the birds. TOGETHER, WE DID IT!


Photo By: Carol McCormick


We are redoubling our effort - begun in 1993 - to amend the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to include birds.  

On July 20, The New York Times published a detailed article describing the sadistic abuse of chickens filmed at the Pilgrim's Pride chicken slaughter plant in Moorefield, West Virginia. An undercover PETA investigator taped workers stomping on live chickens, playing football with chickens, slamming chickens against walls, spitting tobacco juice into chickens' mouths, and tearing chickens' beaks off.

Last year, former Tyson chicken slaughterhouse worker Virgil Butler testified that while working at the Grannis, Arkansas plant from 1997-2002, "I personally witnessed many acts of cruelty toward the chickens by employees of the plant."

Hardy County (WV) Prosecutor Lucas See is investigating the Pilgrim's Pride case to decide whether to press cruelty charges against the 11 employees, including 3 managers, and the company. The workers are trying to blame working conditions for their cruelty, but as UPC President Karen Davis stated in a letter published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (08/08/04): "The fact that such business stimulates gratuitous cruelty among workers does not excuse those workers any more than if they had been parents venting rage and frustration on their children. The Pilgrim's Pride workers should pay for their crime."

What Can I Do?

*Please write a polite letter to Mr. See and urge that cruelty-to-animals charges be filed against all those responsible, including the Pilgrim's Pride company, which condoned the cruelty.

The Honorable Lucas See, Esq.
Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney
204 Washington Street
Moorefield, WV 26836
Fax: 304-538-7800

*Please write to Pilgrim's Pride, a supplier to KFC, and KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands. Urge them to implement changes that would help stop these abuses from continuing. Ask them to install surveillance cameras and to implement controlled-atmosphere killing based on a mixture of argon/nitrogen-based gases administered to the birds in the transport crates, thereby eliminating bird consciousness permanently during the slaughtering process.

Lonnie "B" Pilgrim, Chair
Pilgrim's Pride Corporation
110 S, Texas Street
Pittsburg, TX 75686
Phone: 903-855-1000
1-800-824-1159 (toll-free)
Fax: 903-856-7505

David Novak, CEO 
Yum! Brands/KFC
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213
1-800-CALL-KFC (toll-free)
Fax: 502-874-8291

*Please urge your Senators and House Representative to sponsor a bill to amend the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to cover poultry. Birds represent 99 percent of animals slaughtered for food in the US. More information is available at:
http://upc-online.org/slaughter/ . Or write for our booklet Poultry Slaughter: The Need for Legislation . Please join our campaign to help billions of suffering birds.

The Honorable ______
United States Senate
Washington DC 20510

The Honorable _______
United States House of Representatives
Washington DC 20515

To learn your Members of Congress, call the 24-hour Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Or visit www.senate.gov or www.house.gov .

*Please send UPC a generous contribution to further our work on behalf of chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Thank you for helping these birds by supporting UPC. Your continuing financial support makes our work possible. With your help, we ARE making a difference. With your help, we can do even more. Thank You For Your Support!

Yes! I support UPC's vigorous fight for chickens, turkeys and ducks!
Enclosed is my contribution of:

$125    $250     $500     $1000     $_______
Send check or money order, or donate by going to our homepage at www.upc-online.org . It's easy!

UPC is an active member of the California Animal Association of groups working to enact CA legislation to protect birds and other animals in California. This is one of UPC's many advocacy projects. UPC is a nonprofit organization. Federal ID: 52-1705678. All donations are tax-deductible. A financial statement is available on written request to the Office of Consumer Affairs, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218.

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