United Poultry Concerns July 7, 2003

Poultry activists oppose Guffey’s chicken fly event

The following article in the Colorado Springs Gazette (www.gazette.com) on July 4 discusses United Poultry Concerns’ objection to chicken-flying contests. It was prompted by a chicken-flying contest held by Bill Soux in Guffey, Colorado, a tiny town 58 miles southwest of Colorado Springs. A 3-year campaign by UPC in the 1990s led to the end of a chicken-flying contest by Bob Evans Farms in Ohio in 1994. In 1994 UPC sponsored an on-site protest in Guffey, CO that included members of United Poultry Concerns and Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, who distributed UPC’s brochure Chicken-Flying Contests-Cruel Fun to attendees. The Ute Pass Courier (7/16/1994) reported the objections of United Poultry Concerns, Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights. UPC’s brochure is available online at http://upc-online.org/chicken_flying_contests.html

“Poultry activists oppose Guffey’s chicken fly event” by Jeremy Meyer, The Gazette, July 4, 2003.

Today’s 17th annual chicken fly in Guffey is supposed to be clean fun.

People pay to launch chickens off a 12-foot drop using a toilet plunger to get them to “fly.”

But activists with United Poultry Concerns call it mean fun, saying the event causes fear in the birds and teaches cruelty to defenseless animals.

Karen Davis, president of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns, has worked to shut down a similar festival in Ohio and said Guffey’s event also should be stopped.

“It’s taking advantage of something that is defenseless,” said Davis, who runs a sanctuary for rescued chickens in Machipongo, Va.

“These people are taking helpless, unoffending birds who have no idea what is being done to them. They are suddenly thrust up 12 feet. The toilet plunger teaches that these birds aren’t entitled to their feelings or fears.”

Five years ago, the United Poultry Concerns sent protesters to the annual summer chicken drop in Guffey. Activists held signs and chanted down participants but didn’t stop the activities.

Bill Soux, organizer of the chicken drop, said no bird has been harmed in the event. He said he wouldn’t do it if they were.

He called it harmless fun to raise money for local charities.

Davis said there are no plans to protest today’s chicken drop, which starts about 10 a.m. in the town west of Pikes Peak.

But she worries about the health of the poultry. Chickens may not display obvious signs of injury from the 12-foot fall, but the drop may hurt their joints.

“Even if you’re not physically causing harm you’re causing fear,” she said. “You’re giving the idea that it is fun to overpower and force those who are defenseless to do things they wouldn’t normally do.”

CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-1623 or jmeyer@gazette.com

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl: http://www.upc-online.org.


United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

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