Animal Activists Force Boy Scouts of America to Cancel Chicken Slaughter
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.
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
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: BSA.scouting.org – 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.