The Fifth Annual Spring Mourning Vigil for Chickens
Dedicated to June Flowers (May 1994 - January 25, 1995)

June’s Story

by Karen Davis and M.S.
Poster Heartbeat
Photo courtesy of PETA

M.S., June 20, 1994: "I found the two badly injured chickens on RT 26 near Clarksville, Delaware driving home from the airport about 8 PM on Wednesday. Two walkers from a nearby housing development had just walked by them without missing a step. From the other side of the highway I could see they were alive, but badly hurt. After a quick U-turn, safety blinkers on, and the passenger door open, both chickens were sitting on the floor of my car.

"I don't know how they escaped from the chicken truck (headed for the slaughter plant in Millsboro) that I had passed about 5 minutes back. These two hens had to have been abused before they were put in the crate. Each chicken was badly beaten on the left side of her head. The left eye of each hen was swollen shut with black and blue bruises on the left side of the head. My guess is that these chickens were hit several times with something so they could be caught and crated for shipment.

"By Friday one of the chickens, June, was out of shock and taking water with a dropper. By Saturday morning she was up, limping around and picking gently at some ground food and drinking water on her own. Although her left eye was still swollen I could see she was trying to open it.

"The other chicken, Grokie, died Sunday morning while I was with her. She tried to raise her head, gave a little clucking sound--I talked to her softly asking what I could do to help her and said I loved her. She dropped her head, had a very brief spasm, and stopped breathing. I covered her and waited until her body was cold before returning her to Mother Earth and asking the Great Spirit to let her spirit fly with the eagles...."

Karen Davis: On Monday morning at 11 o'clock on July 18, I met M.S. in the Denny's restaurant parking lot in Dover, DE to bring June home. All the way back in the car June talked to me. She still had her baby chirping voice. I kept wondering if she was really a hen--she was so big--but when I got her home and our bright-eyed little black rooster Jules did his fan dance of courtship around her outside the chicken house door, then I knew for sure she was a hen.

Not long after, she developed a serious mycoplasma respiratory infection, (a kind of chicken TB) to which broiler chickens are especially susceptible. I brought her in the house, put her on tylosin, and after about a month she recovered. Her recovery was more than physical. June blossomed during this time. She grew confident, and seemed, for the first time in her life, to know who she was. June was always loving. She liked to be cuddled and rocked and held. I hugged her and rocked her and kissed her warm white and rosy face many times.

The next few months were the prime of June's young life. She tramped and scratched and ran around the yard with the other chickens. Soon, she started laying eggs. She had a special beau, handsome young rooster named Clarence, who courted her and hung about her and attended her egg laying rituals. They were always together.

And then it was over. As a "broiler" chicken, June was very heavy. One day in the middle of January, she couldn't get up. I brought her in the house and put her on a low-fat diet after an x-ray showed arthritic knees and pinched air sacs clouded over with fat impairing her breathing. Miraculously, she seemed to get better. She began to jump up on the sofa for the night and to follow me around the house again, interested in things. Her face and her comb brightened. She wanted to go outside. . . . But it was over. Late Wednesday morning, on January 25, I heard her give a little cry. I picked her up very gently, but could feel she needed to be put down. I laid her carefully on the floor pillow. She began to have a heart attack. She had a terrible seizure, several seizures. She died writhing with her head under the sofa.

As I carried her through the yard to be buried, our other chickens followed behind us, a procession of about twenty feathered souls. June rests deep in the ground now. She was eight months old. Three times her spirit rose above the forces against her. But what can a chicken's spirit do, trapped in a body of death made by men?

"Broilers are born to die, they stress so easily. The chickens today have a lot of health problems because they were forced to grow too fast. You'll never get anyone to admit it, but the reason they have leg problems is because their muscular system is growing much faster than their skeletons, so they can't support their own weight. Everyone in the industry know this for a fact, but no one talks about it. With the way the industry is, as long as they can get the chicken to the processing plant, they don't care if one of their feet rots off, as long as they make it to the plant to be slaughtered."

Paul Miller, D.V.M.
Georgia Poultry Diagnostic Laboratory
Dalton, Georgia
"Broiler" Chickens: Pain in Every Pot
A PETA Undercover Investigation

Please read "Not a leg to stand on," PeTA's ANIMAL TIMES, Jan/Feb 1995.
Here's a "super-bowl" recipe from this issue.

Buffalo Wing-Dings

2 lb. seitan, cut into strips
3 TBs. Ketchup
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbs. cornstarch

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, brown seitan on all sides. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, crushed red pepper and 3/4 cup water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. In a cup stir cornstarch with 2 Tbs. water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into simmering liquid in skillet. Cook until mixture thickens slightly and boils. Cover seitan with mixture and serve. Serves 6-8.