“Poultry Slam” Needs Further Action!

Poultry Slam
Illustration compliments of Henry Spira

UPC wishes to thank everyone who protested to Ira Glass, the producer/radio show host of the misguided hour-long "Poultry Slam," which aired nationally in November and December 1996/1997 on his program, This American Life. (See the previous issue of PoultryPress, Winter/Spring 1998, p. 3.) National Public Radio (NPR) disclaimed responsibility for This American Life. In response, UPC requested clarification of the relationship between NPR and NPR member stations. NPR director-executive support Kathleen Scott replied in a letter dated May 7th: "Regarding the questions you pose in the second paragraph of your letter, NPR did not fund or facilitate in any way This American Life at any time. 'Services' as used in my letter means NPR provides membership support services such as news reporting, training, promotional recordings or program-related material to our members. None of these services is in any way related to This American Life.

"WBEZ is an NPR member station by virtue of its purchase from NPR of certain NPR programs such as Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. NPR provides no funding to WBEZ."

What Can I Do?
  • This American Life is produced by Ira Glass, WBEZ-FM Radio in Chicago. It is distributed by Public Radio International (PRI). Please urge PRI not to distribute This American Life/Poultry Slam to public broadcasting stations in 1998 or thereafter. Contact: Stephen Salyer, President, Public Radio International, 100 North Sixth Street #900A, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Ph: 612-330-9202; fax: 9222. (No email address, we're told.)

  • Contact your local public broadcasting station manager and urge the station not to air This American Life/Poultry Slam. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) provides funding for This American Life. CPB Radio Director, Richard H. Madden, wrote to UPC, "When This American Life applies for additional CPB funding, as I assume they will in the next year or two, one consideration will be whether public stations and listeners around the country find the program of high quality." Tell your local public broadcasting station that the Poultry Slam is of the lowest quality. It promotes violence, cruelty to animals, misinformation about birds, meanness of spirit, and contempt for other forms of life. It should not be aired.

  • As it appears United Poultry Concerns misunderstood NPR's role regarding its member stations, we apologize for the confusion. At the same time, we would be glad to know about any NPR program that now promotes or has ever promoted or even thoughtfully presented the case for animal rights as suggested by Joy Williams, who wrote that "Our treatment of animals and our attitude toward them is crucial not only to any pretensions we have to ethical behavior but to humankind's intellectual and moral evolution." From Joy Williams, The Inhumanity of the Animal People, Harpers Magazine, August 1997, recipient of the 1997 Ark Trust Genesis Award "For an inspired article which may be the single most powerful, passionate and convincing essay ever written on the subject of animal rights."