United Poultry Concerns Angered at "Chicken Abuse" on NBC's "The Tonight Show"

United Poultry Concerns sent out a press release today urging people to contact NBC and protest an animal act that Jay Leno featured on the December 30th episode of “The Tonight Show.” According to UPC,

On December 30, “The Tonight Show,” on NBC at 11:30 p.m., featured a woman which a chicken act. She made an obviously scared chicken jump through a hoop from one elevated table to another, with a space between, boasting that there was “no net.” She also made a chicken “walk the tight rope” about 7 feet high, again boasting “no net. Jay Leno and his guests made comments like “Do you sleep with the chickens?” and references to Col. Sanders. This woman and The Tonight Show put these birds in danger and made fun of them.


Protest Chicken Abuse on NBC’s “Tonight Show”. United Poultry Concerns, Action Alert, January 2, 2003.

Karen Davis: Chickens Have Feelings Too

The Register-Guard (Oregon) made the mistake recently of publishing an article in which it quoted the manager of local Noti’s Greener Pastures Poultry as claiming that chickens don’t have feelings. Karen Davis responsded with a letter in which she begged to differ and described her personal relationship with her favorite chicken.

Noti’s manager Aaron Silverman told the newspaper that,

If you spend time with chickens, you realize pretty quickly that they don’t hae feelings and emotions the way horses or dogs do. I’ve even had pigs that pout, but I have never seen a chicken pout.

That slight of the chicken was just too much for Davis, who describes her close personal relatinship with her chicken, Viva,

My nonprofit organization, United Poultry Concerns, grew out of the bond I formed with a chicken named Viva who escaped being slaughtered in 1987. From Viva, I learned many things. For example, when you hold a chicken close to your heart and she squirrels her neck around your neck and buries her face in your hair, she often purss like a cat. If you have — as I do — a yard full of hens and roosters, you learn quickly how emotional these birds are.

Whatever you say, Karen.


Chickens have feelings. Karen Davis, letter to the editor, The Register-Guard (Oregon), September 7, 2002.

UPC vs. American Veterinary Medical Association on Induced Molting

United Poultry Concerns’ Karen Davis wrote a letter in August blasting the American Veterinary Medical Association’s recent adoption of a resolution endorsing induced molting of hens, but calling for further research into the practice.

Induced molting involves temporarily depriving hens of food which causes them to lose their feathers. The AVMA’s position on induced molting is as follows,

Molting is a natural seasonal event in which birds substantially reduce their feed intake, cease egg production, and replace their plumage. Induced molting is a process that simulates the natural molting events. Induced molting extends the productive life of commercial chicken flocks, improves long-term flock health and performance, and results in substantial reduction in the number of chickens needed to produce the nation’s egg supply. When birds return to full feed, a new plumage develops and the birds resume egg production at a higher rate with better egg quality. Induced molting also has a positive impact on the environment through reduction of waste and natural resources needed for growing more birds for egg production.

The commercial induced molting procedure is carefully monitored and controlled. Acceptable practices include reduction of photoperiod and “day length” dietary restrictions that result in cessation of egg production, but water should not be withdrawn. Intermittent feeding or diets of low nutrient density are recommended, rather than total feed withdrawal. Special attention should be paid to flock health, mortality, and bird weight. Egg quality and safety should be monitored through an egg quality assurance program. The welfare of the bids should be a major consideration in this and any management practice.

The AVMA encourages ongoing research into the effect of various methods of induced molting on the performance and well-being of laying chickens.

The AVMA’s contention about more chickens being required for egg production if induced molting were abandoned is worth elaborating on. The number of additional chickens likely needed would be enormous. An economic analysis of induced molting prepared by Donal Bell of the University of California found that at a minimum, ending induced molting would require egg producers to add at least another 400 million chickens to the production process.

In her letter to the AVMA, Davis writes,

In justifying force molting you have chosen to ignore the pathologic effects of this cruel practice on the birds: naturally molting birds do not degenerate into debilitation and susceptibility to Salmonella enteritis. They do not, in the words of Dr. Ian Duncan, “suffer enormously” as do force-molted hens, and their mortality does not “increase dramatically” as does the mortality of force-molted hens. I live with chickens, and I know that their behavior and condition when molting naturally do not match your assertions.

The AVMA rejected a proposal by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights that would have put the organization on record as opposing induced molting.


An Egg Economics Update Donal Bell, University of California, April 20, 2000.

New position on induced molting wins favor. American Veterinary Medical Association, July 15, 2002.

Open Letter from United Poultry Concerns to The American Veterinary Medical Association. Karen Davis, August 27, 2002.

Karen Davis: Jews Persecuted by Hitler Were No Different from Nazis

Karen Davis recently wrote an long, bizarre review of Charles Patterson’s absurd book, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. Patterson’s book argues, as the title suggests, that human treatment of animals is akin to the Holocaust and, moreover, that human attitudes toward animals were, at least in part, responsible for the Holocaust.

Davis’ review takes a bizarre turn right off the bat when in the opening paragraph she writes,

Parallels between our treatment of nonhuman animals and humans considered to be less than human is what this harrowing book is about. To view such parallels as an insult to humankind merely illustrates its thesis.

This is, of course, a logical fallacy called begging the question. Questioning Davis’s absurd reasoning is hardly evidence that supports this thesis.

I have not read Eternal Treblinka, but from Davis’ lengthy description the book apparently argues that anytime the murder of human beings resembles the slaughter of animals, or language used to describe one is also used to describe the other, this proves that the two activities are intimately intertwined and perhaps even causally related.

Davis, for example, makes much of the role that Charles Davenport and the American Breeders Association played in promoting eugenics in the early 20th century United States. Of course this simply parallels a similar argument made by pro-life activists who note the role that abortion provider pioneer Margaret Sanger played in the eugenics movement. The fact that chicken researchers and abortion providers were involved in the eugenics movement at the beginning of the 20th century says nothing about the ethical position of those respective fields.

Davis, inevitably makes the comparison that all of this nonsense calls for — that, in the way they treated animals, Jews were no different from the Nazis. According to Davis,

It’s been said that if most people had direct contact with the animals they consume, vegetarianism would soar, but history has yet to support this hope. It isn’t just the Nazis who could see birds in the yard, slaughter them and eat them without a qualm, and in fact with euphoria. In this respect, the persecuted Jewish communities were no different than their persecutors.

. . .

Eternal Treblinka thus raises questions, and we long for answers. Why, in the words of Albert Kaplan, are the majority of Holocaust survivors “no more concerned about animals’ suffering than were the Germans concerned about Jews’ suffering?” . . . This is not to suggest that the Jewish community should be expected to rise above the rest of humankind, but that the Jewish response raises questions about our species no less than does Nazism.

That’s right folks — a Jewish family eating chicken for dinner is an act that raises ethical and moral questions comparable to those raised by the Holocaust.


UPC Review – Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. Karen Davis, March 11, 2002, E-mail communication.

United Poultry Concerns Urges People to Donate to a Charity that Does Animal Experiments

Oxygen Media, the cable television channel founded by Oprah Winfrey and others, is running a promotion with the Heifer Project to send chickens and other livestock to families in Afghanistan. The “Send a Chick to Afghanistan” project notes that, “Poultry will help because the birds are so adaptable to the environment, supply an excellent source of nutrition through their eggs, and they’re easy to transport.”

This wonderful program has drawn the wrath of United Poultry Concerns which issued a press release condemning the shipment of chickens to Afghanistan. According to UPC,

The Heifer Project and Oxygen Media are fueling the world’s bloodshed and chaos by adding animal misery and abuse to U.S. bombs, landmines, and civilian suffering and death in Afghanistan. Promoting the idea that sending animals to be tended and fed by famine-stricken countries plagued with drought and American bombs is absurd and misleading.

Well, when it comes to absurd and misleading rhetoric, UPC and Karen Davis are certainly the experts, but in this case it’s yet more absurdity from UPC. The odd thing is that UPC slips up in sticking with the party line. In the very next paragraph of its press release, it suggests that,

People who truly want to help the people of Afghanistan should support famine relief organizations that provide direct aid. For example, the Red Cross is providing rice, oil, and peas for immediate consumption.

Oops. The Red Cross is on PETA/PCRM’s list of forbidden charities because it funds animal research.

This writer recommends giving to both organizations if you are concerned about relief efforts in Afghanistan.


UPC Action Alert: Protest “Send a Chick to Afghanis-Scam.” United Poultry Concerns, Press Release, March 6, 2002.

Karen Davis — Ducks in AFLAC Ads Are Exploited and Degraded

United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis has written a letter to the CEO of AFLAC Incorporated complaining about those ads featuring a duck touting AFLAC insurance.

In a press release containing a copy of the letter, UPC asked animal rights activists to, “Please Contact AFLAC Incorporated (a supplemental medical insurance company) and urge them to stop running TV commercials that represent ducks in dangerous, unnatural, and degrading situations.”

In her letter to AFLAC CEO Daniel Amos, Davis cites an ad featuring a duck apparently falling into the Grand Canyon. Davis writes,

We ask that you stop putting animal abuse images in people’s minds. As a former juvenile probation officer in Baltimore who is now the head of an animal protection agency, I know that many children and teenagers are influenced by programming that treats animals derisively and/or places them in unnatural, potentially harmful situations. We ask you not to cater any further to this mentality.

Yeah, ever since my daughter saw that ad all she can talk about is visiting the Grand Canyon to toss a duck overboard.

Actually, I’m certain that children and teenagers have a lot more common sense than Davis does. Now I would be concerned about teenagers or children who rationalized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — as Karen Davis did — by claiming they likely reduced the total suffering in the world by eliminating so many meat eaters. Now that is truly the sign of someone excessively influenced by a sick mentality.


UPC Action Alert: AFLAC TV Commercial Degrades Ducks. United Poultry Concerns, Press Release, March 4, 2002.