Kansas State Students to Stop Throwing Chickens During Basketball Games (Seriously)

Apparently it is common for students at Kansas State to sneak live chickens into the auditorium when their team plays rival Kansas, whose mascot is the Jayhawk. The student(s) then throw the chicken out onto the floor as a way of mocking the Jayhaw mascot.

Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to me either.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals got wind of the practice, however, and sent a letter to Kansas State objecting to this mistreatment of animals.

The athletic department followed up with a statement asking fans to discontinue the tradition, saying,

These actions severely tarnish the image of our University, its athletics teams and the majority of our outstanding fans and supporters and while viewed by many as harmless pranks, these acts are likely illegal.

PETA’s Debbie Leahy told the Associated Press, “Any student who throws live birds on a basketball court should be thrown out of school.”

A bigger question might be how the chicken throwers managed to get in to Kansas State in the first place.


N.C. vs. Duke: blood feud. Reggie Hayes, The News-Sentinel (Indiana), March 6, 2007.

Kansas State Athletic Department Condemns Chicken Toss. Associated Press, February 28, 2007.

Karen Davis Reviews Book on Chicken Slaughter Houses

United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis recently posted her review of Steve Striffler’s, Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food to AR-NEWS. Striffler’s book is published by Yale University Press and is an account of time he spent working at a slaughterhouse to research his book.

Davis is unhappy that Striffler focuses so much on the plight of the workers in the chicken plant rather than the chickens. Typical of Davis view is this account of her exchange with Striffler,

In his preface, which Striffler defended to me as “not [intended] to educate readers about the technical details of killing a chicken” (so it’s okay to bungle the facts?), he writes: “I do not feel sorry for Javier [a worker in the plant] or the chickens. I have worked in a plant before, and stabbing chickens is a relatively easy job. Many workers would be glad to trade places. And the chickens are there to die.”

Granted, a job where you get to sit on a stool and stick, as it were, “sitting ducks” for eight hours beats most other jobs at the plant, where the majority of workers, a third of them women, are forced to stand on their feet for eight hours and perform ruinous physical labor. As for invoking the fact that the chickens are “there to die” to justify lack of pity for them, ask yourself if this logic works regarding, say, terminal cancer-ward or nursing-home patients — “I don’t feel sorry for these people; they are here to die.”

The comparison of chickens for slaughter to nursing home patients might be shocking if Davis hadn’t previously compared victims of the Holocaust to Nazis or infamously maintained that the 9/11 attack likely reduced the level of suffering in the world because most of those killed were likely meat eaters.


Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food, Review. Karen Davis, January 4, 2006.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road . . . In a Wheelchair?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seems to be running out of ideas. Consider this rather lame protest planned against KFC,

A giant wheelchair-bound “chicken” will repeatedly cross the road in front of a local KFC to lead a protest against the companyÂ’s abusive treatment of chickens. Other PETA members will distribute leaflets to passersby, and one activist will wear a body screen TV showing shocking video footage of factory-farming abuse . . .

. . . Chickens are excluded from the only federal law that protects farmed animals—the Humane Slaughter Act. KFC drugs and breeds chickens to grow so large that many become crippled from the weight of their massive upper bodies.

Get it? Chickens are crippled by their weight, so the chicken has to cross the road in a wheelchair. Yeah, Ingrid, whatever.

Bruce Friedrich provides the obligatory quote,

KFC stands for cruelty in our book. If KFC employees abused cats or dogs the way they abuse chickens, they could be thrown in prison for felony charges of cruelty to animals.

Yeah, and if the average undergraduate abused logic half as often as PETA, he or she could flunk out of college in just a couple semester.

BTW, since PETA is so insistent these days that it has nothing to do with violence or terrorism, it is worth pointing out that the press release notes that PETA has received support from a number of celebrities including Chrissie Hynde. You remember Chrissie — she’s the one who a few years ago provided a justification for murdering those involved in animal industries,

The last resort is for someone to go in and actually take these guys out. Maybe it will have to be an out-and-out assassination. When no one will listen anymore, then individuals have to take the law into their own hands and it can get very ugly.

Can’t imagine where people get the idea that PETA advocates for and approves of violence.


Giant ‘chicken’ in crosses the road to protest KFC in Reading. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 3, 2006.

HSUS Files Lawsuit to Force USDA to Oversee Poultry Slaughter

The Humane Society of the United States and East Bay Animal Advocates filed a lawsuit today seeking to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate and oversee the slaughter of poultry. The USDA currently excludes poultry from its oversight of animals covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

The lawsuit will turn largely on the definition of the word livestock.

The HMSA requires the USDA to ensure that “cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine and other livestock” are humanely slaughtered. The USDA does not define livestock to include poultry. Animal rights activists maintain that poultry indeed qualify as livestock.

According to an HSUS press release announcing the lawsuit

Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president of Animal Protection Litigation for The HSUS states, “When Congress enacted the HMSA, the dictionary definition of ‘livestock’ was ‘domestic animals used or raised on a farm.’ Yet today, nearly 50 years later, 95 percent of domestic animals raised on farms are still entirely unprotected during the slaughter process.”

Currently the USDA does inspect poultry slaughter facilities, but for safety reasons rather than for compliance with humane slaughter regulations.

According to a Washington Post story on the lawsuit, however,

Although there is no specific humane handling and slaughter law for poultry, he [USDA spokesman Steven Cohen] said, inspectors and veterinarians stationed in every poultry processing plant “monitor production so i a plant has evidence of excessive bruising or other conditions that would indicate handling in a manner inconsistent with humane handling, we would necessarily look into that operation.


The HSUS Files Lawsuit Challenging USDA’s Exclusion of Birds from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Press Release, Humane Society of the United States, November 21, 2005.

Humane Society to Sue Over Poultry Slaughtering. Elizabeth Williamson, Washington Post, November 21, 2005.

Three Activists Indicted in Wegmans Break-Ins

In early October, a grand jury indicted three animal rights activists in a series of break-ins at Wegmans Egg Farm in Wolcott, New York.

Adam Durand, 25; Melanie Ippolito, 21; and Megan Cosgrove,22, were indicted on several counts each including burglary, criminal mischief, petty larceny and criminal trespass.

The three activists allegedly broke into the egg farm several times in May and August 2004. They videotaped conditions at the facility and later released a short video through their group Compassionate Consumers. The activists also removed 11 hens from the facility.

Although not indicted, Compassionate Consumers activist Jodi Chemes was fired from her job at Deloitte & Touche after publicizing the tape’s release (Wegmans is a client of Deloitte & Touche).

According to the Times of Wayne County,

In the initial arraignment, it is alleged that the Durand and Ippolito used wire cutters to gain access to the manure rooms below the chicken houses. It was also stated that they took a total of 8 hens from the buildings on at least two occasions.

The grand jury indictment has Durand charged with three counts each of Felony Burglary in the 3rd Degree, Misdemeanor Petit Larceny and Criminal Trespass. Ippolito was charged with two counts each and Cosgrove with one count each.

The Times also reported that Compassionate Consumers offered to end its campaign against Wegmans if the egg producer agreed to reduce or drop the charges against the activists (the prosecutor in the case has said he will not reduce or drop the charges without Wegmans’ consent), but apparently the company refused such a deal.


Jury indicts 3 in Wegmans Egg Farm case. Misty Edgecomb, Democrat and Chronicle, October 4, 2005.

Trio plucked by County Grand Jury for WegmanÂ’s Chicken Farm break-in. Times of Wayne County, 2005.

United Egg Producers Agrees to Modify “Animal Care Certified” Logo

In October, United Egg Producers agreed to modify the logo it uses to certify egg producers that meet its egg production standards.

The logo had read “Animal Care Certified,” but in 2003 and 2004 the Better Business Bureau found that the logo was deceptive and forwarded a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission which had been dragging its heels in deciding one way or the other on whether or not the wording was deceptive.

United Egg Producers short-circuited that process altogether by deciding to change the logo to read “United Egg Producers Certified” with the tagline, “Produced in compliance with United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines.”

Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing, which has filed a number of lawsuits over the past couple years charging that the “Animal Care Certified” logo was deceptive, told the Washington Post,

Consumers will be able to make more informed buying choices and won’t be duped or deceived into buying eggs that were produced by animal cruelty. They will more than likely opt for eggs labeled as cage-free or free-range.

Meier added in a prepared statement,

While the egg industry’s husbandry guidelines still permit routine animal cruelty, at least the new logo will no longer convey a false message of humane animal care. The industry’s next step should be to amend its guidelines to prohibit battery cages.

Not likely. As United Egg Producers spokesman Mike Head told the Washington Post,

We support cage-free eggs as a choice for consumers. We say, let consumers make their own choice. They are making their choice right now, and 98 percent of them are choosing conventional eggs.

. . .

The program is intact, which for us is a great victory. The only thing that was in question was the words on the logo itself. That’s why we decided, ‘Let’s change the words, because we don’t want a cloud hanging over this.’

Since free range eggs are significantly more expensive than those produced by hens confined to cages, I wouldn’t be the farm on Meier’s prediction of a sudden surge by consumer’s to such eggs because of a slight change of wording on an egg carton logo.


Egg Label Changed After Md. Group Complains. Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post, October 4, 2005.

Egg producers group agrees to alter logo, settling complaint. Des Moines Register, October 4, 2005.

Egg producers relent on industry seal. Alexei Barrionuevo, The New York times, October 4, 2005.

Federal Trade Commission Announces End to Misleading Egg Logo. Press Release, Compassion Over Killing, October 4, 2005.