Action Alert

Animal Activists Force Boy Scouts of America to Cancel Chicken Slaughter

“If the offices of the Boy Scouts had not heard from so many people today [Friday, Nov 19] . . . the slaughter would have occurred.”
– Lydia Nichols, Executive Director,
Animal Liberation of Texas

(; 972-664-6760)
Boy with hen drawing
Illustration by Patricia Vandenbergh

Animal activists succeeded in getting the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to cancel a chicken slaughtering exercise planned by a troop leader in Bedford, Texas for November 20th. In April 1998, Boy Scouts Troop 890, also in Texas, hacked a flock of chickens to death in a field (PoultryPress Spring/Summer 1998). 15 of the 80 Scouts refused to participate.

Former scout leader Diana Orr, president of Rabbit Rescue (, wrote in November: "I fought all day to stop them from slaughtering rabbits. They moved to chickens. They still intend to do something along the same lines, on private land, away from 'seeing' eyes."

In addition, the BSA offers a Boy Scout Badge in Animal Science that directs the scout to "Kill and dress two birds" – chicks, poults (baby turkeys), or ducklings.

Fortunately the BSA 1998 Handbook does include kindness as a Boy Scout characteristic: A Scout knows there is strength in being gentle. . . . Without good reason, he does not harm or kill any living thing. . . . Kindness is not limited to how we feel about people. Be kind to pets and wildlife. Be kind to the earth. . ." (Ch. 3, p. 50). However, these virtues need to be translated into a written Code of Behaviour specifying Boy Scout behaviors and activities in regard to nonhuman animals that will not be tolerated within the parameters of Scouting.

What Can I Do?
  • Urge the Boy Scouts of America to implement a formal written Code of Behavior prohibiting the intentional maiming, killing, or other harming of birds and other animals. Penalties of censure, demerit, and expulsion of the animal abuser, be he a Scout, troop leader, or Scoutmaster, should be clearly stated in writing and carried out.

    This Code should appear in every scout handbook. It should address both wildlife and domesticated animals. No merit badge award should require the use of animals. In fact, the BSA needs to establish a merit badge of compassion for scouts who exhibit moral courage on behalf of animals. Contact:

    Renee L. Fairrer, Associate Director
    External Communications Division
    Boy Scouts of America
    1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, PO Box 152079
    Irving, TX 75015
    Tel 972-580-2205; fax 580-7870

  • If you hear that a local troop is planning a chicken slaughter or other animal abuse exercise, immediately contact the above headquarters, or the Boy Scouts Consul Office for that area. Click on the BSA website: – consul locator, 1st page – for a directory of local consuls. Remember: the Boy Scouts of America prides itself on Leadership. It's time for a BSA Leadership Policy on the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

  • If you do not get swift intervention by the local consul or national headquarters, contact the news media, including the nearest Associated Press Bureau, and tell them what's up.