Karen Davis, PhD
President and founder,
United Poultry Concerns (UPC)
"I think chickens are in hell and they are not going to get out. They are already in hell and there are just going to be more of them. As long as people want billions of eggs and millions of pounds of flesh, how can all these animal products be delivered to the millions? There will be crowding and cruelty – it is just built into the situation. You can’t get away from it. And we are ingesting their misery. But pessimism about an atrocity and its outcome is not the same as feeling, or being, 'ineffectual' in one’s commitment to alleviating the atrocity, nor is it an assessment or equivalent of one’s (or one’s organization’s) ability or accomplishment confronting the atrocity. The fact that a situation may be beyond one’s control does not make one’s actions toward it, per se, 'ineffectual.' "
"If we feel that we must apologize ever, for being an animal activist, let us apologize to the animals, not for them."
"If in certain circumstances we feel compelled to use the term “broiler” to distinguish chickens bred for meat, this term should never be used as a noun but only as an adjective: Do not say “broilers.” Say broiler chickens. Don’t call hens used for egg-production “layers” or “egg-layers” but rather laying hens. Don’t talk about raising “veal” or refer to a veal calf’s prison as a “veal crate.” Instead say veal calves and veal calf crates. Make the animals visible."
"Throughout history, hens have been praised for their ability to defend their young from an attacker. I watched Eva do exactly this one day when a large dog wandered in front of the magnolia tree where she and her chicks were foraging. With her wings outspread and curved menacingly toward the dog, she rushed at him over and over, cackling loudly, all the while continuing to push her chicks behind herself with her wings. The dog stood stock still before the excited mother hen, and soon ambled away, but Eva maintained her aggressive posture of self-defense, her sharp, repetitive cackle and attentive lookout for several minutes after he was gone."
"Chickens socialize successfully with a variety of other species and form bonds of interspecies affection and communication, but they are not failed or inferior humans. If chickens or any other adult animals thought and acted like toddlers or even teenagers, the species would not survive. An adult chicken raising her chicks does not think like a child, but like a mother hen — in which respect there is continuity between her and all other attentive and doting mothers of all species. We need to suppress our impulse to patronize the rest of the living world as inferior to ourselves, and to stop torturing and murdering them to find out what is inside their heads. Other animals are not lesser beings, and chickens are neither voiceless nor stupid. Let us learn to respect other animals by perceiving them justly, and teach others to do the same."
"Can one regard a fellow creature as a property item, an investment, a piece of meat, an ‘it,’ without degenerating into cruelty towards that creature?"