4 May 2020

Letter to 50 meateaters

From: Roberta Schiff, Hudson Valley Vegans
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2020 10:08 PM
To: United Poultry Concerns
Subject: what I sent for May 4

Dear UPC,

Here is what I wrote and sent to 50 meateaters that I know well. Will let you know the response. Keep up your very necessary work.

Robbie Schiff
Hudson Valley Vegans

Today is May 4th. Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns, the only national organization that works exclusively for the welfare of chickens, turkeys and ducks, reminds us that this is International Respect for Chickens Day. Yes, there are many “special’ days, but this one is more important than, say, National Ketchup Appreciation day. And I like ketchup, especially with vegan meatloaf.

No doubt you have learned about the closing of pork producing plants and then the order to keep them open. You may have seen images showing the crowded conditions and the risks the workers face. In addition to the degrading and dangerous work and low pay, they have been asked to risk their lives or lose their jobs.

You probably also know that the animals suffer deliberate cruelty in the way they are raised and slaughtered, but probably, like me until 1993, allow this to become a reality for yourself so you can continue to eat these animals. The demand for cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys, dairy milk and eggs could not be met without the crowding, the inappropriate feed, the artificial insemination and all the other practices in use. Only a few people would be able to afford animal products from animals raised in a less inhumane way.

There is as much cruelty and degradation of the workers and the birds in the poultry industry as in raising and slaughtering cows and pigs.

Karen Davis, whom I have known since the last century, has a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. She has learned much about their behavior; I have attached her article “The Social Life of Chickens,” and also a short excerpt from it. The organization is called United Poultry Concerns. Their website is www.upc-online.org.

I know you love birds and are happy to see them as we get into Spring. You would not take the eggs from a robin's nest. Yet we have been conditioned to believe that chickens’ eggs are meant for us and that these sociable animals can be caged and debeaked and exploited to produce eggs and meat as inexpensively as possible. Yet Chickens Are Birds Too.

I know some of you will react with anger to this; you may resent my sending it, or as has happened before, not respond at all, sending me a silent message. I hope a few of you, even one or two, will check out the attachments/website and reflect on what I have written. I did not make my decision without information from others. And I cannot cause anyone to change, only provide information. Even though I value our friendship, as today is International Respect for Chickens Day, I am risking jeopardizing that to send out this message.

P.S. It is not just the wet markets in China that cause problems. Did you know there are 80 wet markets in the five boroughs of NYC? And that our vast array of Intensive Animal Agriculture facilities (Factory Farms) are also places where viruses can leap from animals to humans?