22 December 2022

Letters RE: Technician Rejects Ad Exposing Ventilation Shutdown+ Experiments on Helpless Hens @ NCSU

Weak hen with missing feathers standing in the darkness
Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) photo of a hen who survived VSD+ killings at Rembrandt Farms in Iowa in March 2022

These letters were sent by their authors to the North Carolina State University student newspaper Technician, and to university Chancellor Randolph Woodson, condemning the Technician’s refusal to publish our ad after it had been scheduled for publication on December 1. We thank everyone who has taken the time to speak out on behalf of Free Speech and against the egregious torture of helpless hens subjected to suffocation and heatstroke to benefit the poultry & egg industries’ “depopulation” atrocities. These experiments, called Ventilation Shutdown Plus (VSD+) research, are continuing to be conducted by the university’s Poultry Science Department. We urge people to continue speaking out and sharing this story with others. ‑ Thank You! United Poultry Concerns

(These writers either wrote to each recipient separately or else wrote to one and copied it to the other. Below are the contents of each letter. ‑ UPC)

Titled They Shut Their Ears to Her Cries as She Died a Merciless Death, the ad was produced by United Poultry Concerns. ‑ NewsBlaze Investigates Student Newspaper Censorship of Animal Cruelty Ad


pattrice jones, Codirector & Coordinator of VINE Sanctuary, wrote to the Technician:

I am deeply troubled to learn that your publication rejected a truthful advertisement from a nonprofit concerning the treatment of birds by researchers at your university.

University newspapers exist for two primary purposes, neither of which was served by this decision.

First, university newspapers allow students to learn and practice journalistic ethics. Those ethics not only prohibit advertisers from swaying coverage but also prohibit censorship of truthful advertisements. There is a long history of activists using paid advertisements to educate readers about matters about which the publication in question has neglected to report. Such interventions must be allowed, however uncomfortable the publisher feels about being held to account in this way.

Next, university newspapers function as truth-tellers about the universities they serve, ensuring that students, faculty, and staff know about university activities to which they might rightfully object. To censor a truthful ad about controversial research conducted behind closed doors on campus is to do the exact opposite of what a university newspaper should do.

I hope that the Editorial Board of the Technician will revisit its decision to reject the advertisement submitted by United Poultry Concerns and will also report candidly to its readers the fact that the publication initially attempted to censor this ad. We cannot know what readers will think about the ad itself or the on-campus activities it accurately describes, but there can be no doubt that the readers of your publication deserve to know the truth.

Dr. Faraz Harsini wrote to Chancellor Woodson:

As a fellow scholar and biomedical scientist, I was disappointed to learn that your student paper blocked the ad meant to inform students about the cruel experiments conducted behind the doors at your university.

This is particularly disappointing given the fact that you have an entire page on your website dedicated to freedom of speech:


I am grateful for coming across this video footage, several recent news articles, and learning from the team of amazing lawyers who are investigating this clear case of animal cruelty.


Please watch how these animals are needlessly suffering under your watch.

Please encourage the Technician to express their apology for their refusal to let students be aware of this issue, and to publish the ad as soon as possible.

I would be happy to connect you with organizations that can help your researchers with replacing their animals with non-human models.

I respectfully request a meaningful response from your university. I am not looking for an insincere or canned response. I am hoping that this was just an honest mistake by the editors.

I hope that we can resolve this. We can't let censorship cease progress, especially when innocent lives are needlessly being tortured. I will wait for your response before I take further action next week.

Bruce Andrew Peters wrote to Chancellor Woodson:

Universities are characterized as places of higher learning where a free exchange of diverse ideas and dissenting views are not only welcome but encouraged.

Should an institution cling to older beliefs, then there would be no advancement of ideas. Ergo, NCSU would not accept female students, advance contemporary ideas or technology. In this page about NCSU in the 1880s, students are shown standing at wooden desks, drawing on paper for a mechanical engineering class. Today, engineering students presumably use computers and learn about major advancements in the field. https://www.ccee.ncsu.edu/news/2015/curriculum-history-1889-1899-the-formative-years/

So, it is astonishing that NCSU should refuse income for an advertisement in the student paper, from a chicken advocacy organization which may call into question the practice of animal abuse. Not only should such paid messages be welcomed, but they should also be embraced - under the premise that new ideas advance critical thinking. Surely one would learn more from this message than the countless beer advertisements which permeate the collegiate media.

Presumably, one cannot point to any aspect of the anti-cruelty ad which might violate the NCSU's stated publishing guidelines. Otherwise, one might conclude that the guidelines are arbitrary and capricious.

Thanking you in advance.

George Bates, DVM wrote to the Technician:

May I respectfully ask why you refused to run an ad by United Poultry Concerns in your newspaper scheduled for the December 1st edition? The ad detailed some extremely harsh animal experiments conducted at your university on chickens who were intentionally cooked to death to validate the use of so-called ventilatory shutdown as a method of mass killing poultry flocks that may have been exposed to an infectious disease. Almost as unbelievable as the nature of the experimentation is the cowardly manner in which your newspaper has refused to inform the students of your university about what goes on in the way of "research" at their own school.

Were any of the details of the experiments in the proposed advertisement inaccurate? Was pressure applied to your editorial board by members of the administration to scuttle the ad? Or, most shamefully by far, did your editorial board engage in self-censorship to avoid "rocking the boat" or offending someone in your collegiate hierarchy. Intentionally hiding the truth from one's readers must be about the greatest journalistic sin one can commit. An honest response to my questions would be appreciated and would be the adult way of handling such an inquiry.

Jerry Simonelli wrote to the Technician:

This is regarding the Technician’s rejection of an ad submitted to (and initially approved by) your publication. I am a retired attorney in your neighboring state of Virginia and I am a former public official having served in the Connecticut House of Representatives.

What distinguishes our country and society from many others around the world is our enshrined rights of free speech. As a society, we do not always live up to our aspirations but free speech remains a cherished goal and we continually strive to achieve it even in situations where what we are hearing is difficult and contrary to our individual interests.

In the current situation, you are faced with just such a dilemma - do what is right or do what is expedient and immediately beneficial.

The torch of preserving free speech is being passed to your generation. I respectfully urge you to reconsider and do what is right in face of special interest pressure and allow the ad by United Poultry Concerns to run.

Thank you for consideration of my views.

What Can I Do?

Write a letter to:

Randolph Woodson, Chancellor: chancellor@ncsu.edu.

Technician Editorial Board: technician-editor@ncsu.edu.

Professor Peter Ferket, Interim Head of the Poultry Science Department: peter_ferket@ncsu.edu.