News Briefs

UPC Wins Relief For Chickens From “Art” And “Entertainment“

Chicken Roping Contest Cancelled in Response to UPC Campaign

“’If cowboys are going to bully birds who have done them no harm, United Poultry Concerns will publish their cowardice,’ a news release from the organization said.”
– Fritz Thompson, “Fowl Ropers Run Afoul of
Activists,” Albuquerque Journal, Oct. 7, 2000

A nationwide protest by United Poultry Concerns caused The Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico to cancel the “2nd annual New Mexico State Chicken Roping Competition” scheduled for October 15th. The Museum’s director, Bruce Eldredge, told the Associated Press it received more than 100 calls, faxes and e-mails from around the nation in response to UPC’s Internet Action Alert urging animal activists to urge the Museum to drop the event “and support clean fun, not mean fun.”

“I talked to [UPC president Karen Davis] by telephone yesterday,” Eldredge told the Albuquerque Journal, “and she called me cowardly, cruel and unmanly and said we were stooping to sickly stunts.”

UPC issued a news release and sent a letter to the Museum thanking Mr. Eldredge for dropping the sordid and pathetic “contest” based on chasing, lassoing, and binding the head and feet of hens and roosters for entertainment.

UPC Protest Frees Scout & Mabel from Artificial “Acre of Art”

When UPC member and Minneapolis-based artist Frank Erickson alerted UPC about an exhibit featuring a hen and a rooster confined in a cage at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, UPC took immediate action that resulted in the removal of the birds from an exhibit that would have forced them to be “art objects” for an additional 3 weeks in the month-long show, “An Acre of Art.” Pulse of the Twin Cities journalist Jessica Swanson reported on Oct. 25 that in letters to the Museum’s director and board chair, UPC implored the Museum to “cancel the remainder of this exhibit featuring the live birds. . . . The exhibit demeans the birds, which is inhumane, and encourages visitors, including children, to view chickens inappropriately and perhaps imitate the confinement and vacuity imposed on them as ‘art.’”

The exhibit’s artists claimed they removed the birds based on undocumented “threats” from animal activists. Regardless, the birds have been relieved of a dull, dopey and demeaning duty they never would have chosen for themselves. In her Nov. 10 feature article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Bye Bye Birdies,” art critic Mary Abbe said UPC president Karen Davis “sparked the largest wave of protests when she sent an ‘action alert’ to her organization’s 10,000 members. ‘That’s what we strive for, agriculture without animals,’ Davis said. ‘Empty cages and no animals having to sit there and rot for cuisine. Now the exhibition really does mean something—empty cages. That’s the best use of land that there could be.’”