My “vegan is murder” piece stimulated a lot of interest. One correspondent alerted me to a controversy in Canandaigua, N.Y. Apparently, the Canandaigua Academy’s “chicken project” has, in the past, had a class of students each year raising chickens and then slaughtering them for a meal, the idea being to see where food comes from. Needless to say, PETA went ballistic and pressured the academy to cancel the project. From the story:
Lindsay Rajt, manager of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said Friday that Erdle sent an e-mail to the organization saying that school officials “recognize the concern” and had discontinued the project, which had been part of a high school ecology class for the past three years. “In no way were we trying to create a controversy,” wrote Erdle in the e-mail provided by PETA. “This is a project adopted from a 4-H project that we have done for years.”Needless to say, PETA had not accurately reported what was really going on when it sought to ignite the wrath of the animal rights world down onto the school:
Animal-rights activists from across the country, including PETA members, lobbied school leaders to end the project. School district spokesman Andy Thomas said the district has received as many as 50 letters from activists. “I think Lynne’s feeling is, ‘Enough is enough,’” Thomas said. “We think it’s a great class, but sometimes a controversy makes it not worth it to pound on through.”But that’s what PETA does; demagogue and pander for publicity.
Thomas added, “Their opposition to the program, to me, is somewhat shortsighted—there’s a chance that some of the kids that go through this program will consider vegetarianism much more seriously.”
Thomas expressed frustrations with how the program—aimed at giving students a close-look at the true cost of today’s diet—has been portrayed by PETA and another group, United Poultry Concerns. In announcing the school’s decision, PETA issued a press release Friday that said, “School Had Been Holding Mass Decapitations of Birds in Classroom.”
Given that this is an elective class, my main concern would be to ensure that the chickens were slaughtered humanely. That is not a job for amateurs. But I think the school should be given points for breaking free from the usual stifling political correctness so often seen in schools today about animals.
My correspondent, who lives in the area, tells me the deal is not yet done. The program was suspended pending review, not finally terminated. “Many people reacted bitterly to this ‘cave in,’” he reports. “The animal rights people called this a victory, but now it looks like the program may be reinstated.”
If I find out more, I will let you all know.