Join UPC's Citizens for Clean Fun, Not Mean Fun
Photo by Michael Wyke/Tulsa World
Stop the Guinea Fowl Drop
Held the last few years in June on National Trails Day, in Quitaque, Texas, this Chamber of Commerce-sponsored stunt consists of hurling guinea fowls from an airplane going 85+ mph, from 500 ft or more above ground. On landing the birds are chased down by kids for the $100 coupon tied to each bird's leg. Guinea fowl are shy, excitable birds, and poor flyers. They never rise to the 500-ft minimum altitude required by the Federal Avian Administration (FAA), and being dropped is not the same as a bird's natural flight. Larry Farley, a game-fowl expert, told Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (6/2/97) reporter John Wise, "I don't know how much they can slow that plane down, but even at 70 or even 40 miles per hour, that's got to be pretty traumatic. . . . [A]n alternative contest would be safer for the birds and just as challenging to participants."
Chamber of Commerce president Roy Pigg, who started the guinea fowl drop, was shot to death by a local acquaintance 3 days before the June 6 event this year. Pigg was a violent man towards animals who got killed in a violent quarrel with a rifle- carrying townsman. The guinea fowl drop should be dropped. Contact: President, Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 538, Quitaque, TX 79255. ph: 806-455-1200; fax: 1228 or 1298.
Stop the Chicken Flying Contest
"S*M*A*R*T is the acronym for Special Military Active Retired Travel Club. The club promotes comradeship among Retired and Active Military persons who are interested in Recreational Vehicle traveling and living." The Summer 1998 issue of The S*M*A*R*T Traveler announced that the club will hold a Chicken Flying Contest during its 1999 MUSTER (military social) in Shawnee, Oklahoma April 27 to May 1, 1999. "Each Chapter will be given a live chicken upon arrival to prepare for the race. The day following the race will be the men's Bar-B-Que lunch. Guess what's for lunch." (According to Cancer Research, Vol. 55, 1995, a big load of carcinogens.)
It dishonors the military to subject birds and other animals to ridicule, fear, and possible harm as a social event. Chickens are not true flyers. The joke is shoving them off a 10 ft platform with a toilet plunger. In 1994, Bob Evans Farms, based in Columbus, Ohio, eliminated the "chicken flying meet" from its annual fall festival in response to UPC's 4-year campaign, which led the company to discover that most festival-goers disliked this event. Contact: Mr. Roy Allen #0559, president, S*M*A*R*T, PO Box 44209 F76660, Cincinnati, OH 45244. Send a SASE to UPC for our brochure, "Chicken-Flying Contests: Cruel Fun."
Stop the Ostrich Races
If you hear that an ostrich race is coming to your area, put the breaks on it. Contact the fairgrounds manager, your city/county council, and local news media and demand that the race be cancelled. In an ostrich race the bird is ridden rodeo-style or forced to pull a chariot in an atmosphere of derision about how stupid ostriches are. Their long thin necks and legs, large fragile eyes, and panic make them liable to spin, run off course, stumble, and break their bones. When Sherrill Durbin, Samuel Hancock, and Ellen Henry of Tulsa, Oklahoma learned that an ostrich race was coming to Tulsa in July, they got busy contacting editors and making phone calls. Letters and faxes poured in from around the country (including United Poultry Concerns). Tulsa World headlined: "Ostrich race called 'cruel, barbaric.'"
Tulsa County Commissioner John Selph told the newspaper, "I don't think ostriches were intended to be ridden. . . . [I]n the future, let's stay away from it."
Ostriches are 90 million-year old nomadic desert dwellers with a strong family life including both parents. Ostrich fathers form a wavy umbrella-fan with their huge wings to shelter their chicks from the desert sun. Ostriches do not become "tame." Under assault they can kick people to death. Ostriches atrophy in captivity and will often stop eating until they die. Send a SASE to UPC for our brochure, "Ostriches & Emus: Nowhere To Hide."