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Portland Animal Rights Activists Try To Save Chickens

Commercial truck driver Dean Giddings, 42, of Oak Harbor, Washington, was towing two trailers on Highway 213 Sunday night, loaded with about 6,000 chickens when he reportedly ran a red light and crashed into two other vehicles at about 7:30 p.m. Several hundred chickens died at the scene and many suffered severe injuries. Animal rights activists appeared on the scene with animal carriers and video cameras as they attempted to liberate the animals from the Highway.
Truck Full Of 6,000 Chickens
Truck Full Of 6,000 Chickens
This Is What A Chicken SHOULD Look Like
This Is What A Chicken SHOULD Look Like
The animal rights activist were repeatedly told to leave from State Troopers, but they kept coming back with animal carriers and video cameras in hand.

Police said the truck struck the driver's side of the passenger car, then continued northbound where it struck a second car that was in the southbound left turn lane on Highway 213. After colliding with both vehicles, the truck and two trailers rolled into its left side and came to a stop blocking all three northbound lanes and two southbound lanes. The driver of one of the vehicles and a passenger in his car suffered minor injuries.

Fire fighters said they quickly worked to contain a 100-gallon diesel fuel spill after the truck rolled onto its side. Crews shoveled dirt and used absorbent pads to block it from spreading to nearby Newell Creek.

The semi-truck had been en route to a processing plant in Mt. Vernon, Wash. Police said Giddings will likely only face careless driving charges.

As police catch the remaining chickens, they are being taken to a processing plant in Mt. Vernon, Wash. where they will be murdered for food.

Monday morning, investigators said hundreds of the chickens were dead and others were captured on and near the roadway, hopefully the animal rights activists were able to liberate some of the chickens.

To view video, go to www.kgw.com,
Scroll down to "Accident kills hundreds of chickens on Hwy 213"
and click on the KGW Report.
There you will see the animal rights activists on the scene.

Let's Learn About How Intelligent Chickens Are And Factory Farming:


Chickens are inquisitive and interesting animals and are thought to be as intelligent as mammals like cats and dogs and even primates. When in natural surroundings, not on factory farms, they form friendships and social hierarchies, recognize one another, love their young, and enjoy a full life, dust-bathing, making nests, roosting in trees, and more.

Up until a few years ago, few scientists had spent any time learning about chickens' intelligence, but people who run farmed animal sanctuaries have had plenty to say about the subtleties of the chicken world. It may seem odd, since we don't know chickens very well, but it's true that some chickens like classic rock, while others like classical music; some chickens enjoy human company, while others are standoffish, shy, or even a bit aggressive. Just like dogs, cats, and humans, each chicken is an individual with a distinct personality. Now, scientists are beginning to learn a bit more about chickens, and here's what a few of them have to say:
Chickens are as smart as mammals, including some primates, according to animal behaviorist Dr. Chris Evans, who runs the animal behavior lab at Macquarie University in Australia and lectures on his work with chickens. He explains that, for example, chickens are able to understand that recently hidden objects still exist, which is actually beyond the capacity of small children. Discussing chickens' various capacities, he says, "As a trick at conferences I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I'm talking about monkeys."

Dr. Joy Mench, professor and director of the Center for Animal Welfare at the University of California at Davis explains, "Chickens show sophisticated social behavior. ... That's what a pecking order is all about. They can recognize more than a hundred other chickens and remember them. They have more than thirty types of vocalizations."

In her book The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken, Dr. Lesley Rogers, a professor of neuroscience and animal behavior, concludes that chickens have cognitive capabilities equivalent to mammals.

Dr. Christine Nicol of the University of Bristol explains, "Chickens have shown us they can do things people didn't think they could do. There are hidden depths to chickens, definitely."

A Few Examples of Chicken Capabilities

The video "Let's Ask the Animals," produced by the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour in the United Kingdom, shows chickens learning which bowls contain food by watching television, learning to peck a button three times in order to obtain food, and learning how to navigate a complex obstacle course in order to get to a nesting box.

In 2002, the PBS documentary The Natural History of the Chicken revealed that "[c]hickens love to watch television and have vision similar to humans. They also seem to enjoy all forms of music, especially classical."

Chickens are able to learn by watching the mistakes of others and are very adept at teaching and learning.

Chickens also can learn to use switches and levers to change the temperature in their surroundings and to open doors to feeding areas.

Chickens have more than 30 distinct cries to communicate to one another, including separate alarm calls depending on whether a predator is traveling by land or sea.

A mother hen will turn her eggs as many as five times an hour and cluck to her unborn chicks, who will chirp back to her and to one another from within their shells!

Chickens navigate by the sun.

A hen will often go without food and water, if necessary, just to have a private nest in which to lay her eggs.

Like us, chickens form strong family ties and mourn when they lose a loved one.

Kim Sturla, who runs Animal Place, a sanctuary for abused and discarded farmed animals, has seen chickens empathize and show affection for one another. She recalls an endearing story about two elderly chickens who had been rescued from a city dump. "Mary" and "Notorious Boy" bonded and would roost on a picnic table together. One stormy night when the rain was really pelting down, Sturla went to put Mary and Notorious Boy in the barn and saw that "the rooster had his wing extended over the hen protecting her."

Save the Chickens
Chickens raised for food in the U.S. are denied all their natural behaviors and desires. They are crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that stink of ammonia fumes from accumulated waste; they are given barely enough room even to move (each bird lives in the amount of space equivalent to a standard sheet of paper). They routinely suffer broken bones from being bred to be top heavy, from callous handling (workers roughly grab birds by their legs and stuff them into crates), and from being shackled upside-down at slaughterhouses.

Chickens are often still fully conscious when their throats are slit or when they are dumped into tanks of scalding hot water to remove their feathers. When they're killed, chickens are still babies, not yet 2 months old, out of a natural life span of 10 to 15 years.

The average American meat-eater is responsible for the abuse and deaths of approximately 2,500 chickens.


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thanks 08.Nov.2004 13:02


i saw this on the news last night, and was horrified by how the surviving chickens were just being stuffed back into their drawers like they weren't living beings at all. horrible. and this was perfectly acceptable by the media...??? it was right there on the local news- proof of disgusting neglect and abuse of these innocent animals.

mainstream press 08.Nov.2004 17:53


the press I heard said people were attemting to "steal" the chickens. willful disinformation, or heads so far up their butts they can't tell the difference? or was there some of that too? thanks for posting

My experience... 08.Nov.2004 19:41

trying to save a chicken....

When we got there the only chickens who hadn't been picked up yet were all huddled underneath the truck that had crashed. I assume they were trying to keep warm, as well as being in shock and injured. There were dead chickens on top of live chickens. Most of them were struggling to walk, or even move. One chicken was on the ground, its head crushed under something but its body still moving. Most were missing so many feathers, they didn't even look like chickens. Some people may say, "but they're just chickens, who cares?". Well, does it matter that they are only chickens when they are able to feel pain just like humans feel pain? Suffering is suffering. And these chickens were suffering.

I tried to pick one up but she just cried out so loud, I felt horrible. I finally managed to carefully pick her up and put her in the crate we had brought with us. I picked up another one and that's when the state trooper came over and started shouting about how we were "stealing their property". She told me to put the chicken down and when I didn't she grabbed it and threw it back under the truck. We said we were just trying to help but she assured us the situation "was being handled" and the mess was being cleaned up. She then pulled the chicken we had tried to rescue out of the crate by the leg or neck (I don't really remember) and threw it back under the truck. I made a remark about how she had just carelessly picked up the chicken with complete disregard of the pain it was in, and her response was "that is how you handle THESE chickens". I assume she meant that because they were only going to end up as someone's dinner that you're not supposed to take the time to be gentle with them.

Next we tried offering to buy the birds from the their owner but we were told we had "3 seconds to leave" or we'd be arrested. Arrested for what? Having compassion I guess. I was amazed at how much we were hated for what we were doing. And people who stopped to watch were laughing at the accident.

Another experience 08.Nov.2004 20:49

trying to help

What does the comment about "stealing" half-dead chickens mean? I'm another one of those people who was out there trying to save those animals. The animals were dying on the highway - broken wings, unable to move, dead ones on top of live ones. Dove Lewis would have taken a few to be put down humanely, or even saved, rather than be shoved into a battery cage to suffer all night, waiting for slaughter some time hopefully the next day. The ones who die just freezing and suffering on the highway are likely just discarded.
By the way, chickens on farms are worth about a quarter.

When turned away from trying to rescue those animals, we offered to BUY some of them, but were not allowed. Meanwhile the police were continuing to THROW those injured animals around.

Stealing. "Stealing" the birds for what purpose? What personal gain? Think about the word. If I take an injured dog I find on the highway - who is in pain and offered NO medical care - to the vet to be saved, am I "stealing" because that life "belongs" to someone, even though they're not caring for its obvious pain? Taking an animal to be given painkillers, euthanized, or rescued and to refer to that as stealing seems quite wrong to me. Especially when you offer to buy that animal. These animals aren't objects, even though they're treated like it.

I was there 08.Nov.2004 22:25


The troopers walked up and began to explain about the use of force upon those of us with compassion for the chickens in our hearts. Their words were the words of the wooden baton and the OC cone weapon. Our words were those of the piercing weapon. They did not understand that our compassion ended where heirarchical power began, and that they were walking into a hornets' nest. Too late they realized that some people place the lives of innocent animals above those of guilty humyns, and they payed the price. Lament! Lament the loss of the lives of these poor troopers. Thank them for their life spirits. Give thanks to their ancestors for providing them to this world. Wish them well as they depart, the blood and brains from their head coagulating upon the dirt of the roadside. They will be missed, if not by us. Lament. Lament!

Oh, wait. I think I was just now having a fantasy about living in a world full of people that actually have a will and a backbone. Never mind. LAMENT!

Just heard that last night a truck full of sheep 08.Nov.2004 23:09

more news

on their way to slaughter was overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike. Animals everywhere. Same pain, horror, and confusion for these innocent animals; different place, different animals.

If you eat meat, you contribute to this holocaust for the animals. You don't exempt yourself by thinking that you only eat free range or organic--they're transported the exact same way, and usually raised with about the same cruelty and disregard for their consciousness as on any factory farm.

My Three Chickens 09.Nov.2004 09:51

Mother Hen

About two years ago, I adopted a family of three chickens. They live in my garden. When I met them, they were 2 days old. We raised them under a heat lamp in my closet until they were big enough to venture outside. When they were teenagers, I started carrying them out to the garden to see the world. Ordinarily, a chick hangs out with its mother hen, pecking around and learning about the world and keeping warm beneath her feathers. These chicks never knew their mother. It was up to me and nature to help them live out there.

As they grew, I pictured their mother, probably long since gone to slaughter. I hope she knows about these three, the ones who got away. Even now, I often silently tell her how her babies are doing. I figure she would want to know.

Raising chickens is a humbling experience. Even for a vegetarian like me, who has always believed in the spirit and intellect and rights of animals, it has been a trip. They are, indeed, surprising. They are a tight little family with definite personalities of their own. They interact with the other beings in my garden with the sensibility of good neighbors. They strut around on big gray dinosaur legs, chatting and laughing as knowingly as any human. They're smarter, more communicative, and more creative than even I had ever imagined. And when they look me in the eye, it still almost takes my breath to realize there is a sentient being there. A living, breathing being who is contemplating me as evenly and as clearly as I am contemplating him or her.

Chickens form relationships with each other, and care about each other, as fervently as we do. They have the capacity to feel and to express compassion, as well as pain and fear. I know this, because I have seen it for myself in these three whom I live with.

I thank the people who went to the road and tried to save the chickens from that awful truck. And I cry for those who did not get away. The next time you pass a freezer full of naked little carcasses tightly wrapped in clear plastic packages, remember that this is not what "chicken" is. This is what death is. And this is what our consumption habits do in the world. If you have not stopped eating meat yet, for God's sake it's time. Turn them back into chickens, rather than "chicken."

Thank you mother hen. 09.Nov.2004 10:28

saw it

I went out there to try to help those animals. It was a traumatic, deeply depressing experience to witness animals experiencing so much pain and fear and distress - many living their last moments on earth - and be unable to help. Officer Roper (Roeper?) a female officer with the state police was the one who pulled and tossed the injured animal out of our carrier and angrily threatened us with arrest. The animal she tossed out couldn't even move. When we asked to speak with the "owner" of these animals to see if we could purchase some to help them, she got even angrier. As we were leaving, someone connected to the highway crew - who had just been standing around with their friends for half an hour - pushed us, apparently trying to push our carriers out of our hands, we have no idea why. For most of the highway people it looked like a big party - laughing, joking, getting coffee, ignoring the animals, ridiculing us. The hostility towards us, and the complete indifference to these suffering animals was appalling.

For those who imagine a chicken truck accident is funny - and I have seen many of you - how would you like to be lying on a road on a cold night, internal injuries, broken appendages, dead and dying friends laying on top of you, being carelessly tossed by your feet or neck into a cage with other injured beings. Many live, dying ones just remained out on the road the whole time we were there, while people were milling about, not doing much of anything. The ones put in cages were just sitting by the side of the road. There was no urgency to get these animals to any warmth, although it was a very cold night. They were going to sit suffering in those cages until death at the slaughterhouse. But why would anyone have any urgency about giving comfort to these suffering animals? As one highway worker told us: "they're just going to be eaten anyway."

If you contribute to this by eating these innocent animals, there's really no excuse. You know what they go through. You don't need to eat them to live. It's easier to imagine that they don't suffer, as a way to placate any lingering conscience, but you would be wrong.

mother hen 09.Nov.2004 14:03

your comments were very nice

I had chickens as a child, and I agree with what you said about how amazing they are. Living with chickens is really no different to living with cats or dogs. They are such funny little things, and very smart. I remember each chicken having a distinctive personality. And some were friends and others were NOT friends. Very similar to the cats who live with me now!

Of course knowing this makes the situation with the accident even more obscene. Seeing the chickens from the accident on the news was heart breaking. They were nothing like the chickens I had as a child - my chickens were happy and active, which is the way chickens are supposed to be.

Why do people think they have the right to bring so much suffering to animals? I know the obvious reasons, like greed and money and arrogance. BUT WHY??? It's incomprehendable!!!!!

I understand that a reporter named 09.Nov.2004 14:50

mainstream news fails again

Brad Schmidt at the Oregonian wrote an article for them in which he says that some people were "trying to take advantage of the situation" - referring to those who tried to rescue the animals. He and the police indeed imply that the rescuers were trying to steal the chickens. To what end? Do they ever ask themselves that? Chicken flesh is really cheap at the store, and there's no risk of arrest when you throw down $1.50 for a package. This reporter obviously does not understand the situation, and why people might be moved to respond to the suffering of those animals. Those of us who know, perhaps write a letter to the Oregonian. Brad can be reached at 503-294-5920,  bradschmidt@news.oregonian.com Thanks.

Yes!!!! Please Write The HOregonian!!!!! 09.Nov.2004 17:48


The Oregonian printed an article about an accident in Clackamas County involving a slaughter-bound chicken truck. Please write a letter to the editor expressing your concern for these birds. You may also wish to discuss the hidden lives of chickens, explain the ethical reasons for choosing vegetarianism, or include a personal anecdote. For information, go to  link to www.peta.org.

Send e-mails to  letters@news.oregonian.com.
Please limit your letters to 150 words or less and respond to this alert within 48 hours.
For writers' guidelines, see  http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf?/opinion/oregonian/howtosend.frame.
Be sure to include the title and date of the piece, and your name, address, and phone numbers for letter verification.


"Trip to run errand deterred by fowl play"
By Brad Schmidt
The Oregonian
November 9, 2004

Please vary the wording when submitting a letter to more than one publication, as most large newspapers demand exclusive letters.

Please let us know if a publication prints your letter(s) so we can share your success with other writers.
Please do not use any exact wording from this alert in your letter. If the editors notice similar wording in different letters, they are unlikely to print any of them.

Please do not forward any action alerts or cross post them on any listservs.
For a complete list of PETA factsheets to help you with your letters, go to  http://www.peta.org/mc/facts.asp. These factsheets are not copyrighted and you are welcome to use any of the text in your letters.

For PETA's Guide to Letter-Writing, please go to  http://www.peta.org/alert/tkit.html.

Thank you for all your efforts in behalf of animals!

Mourning for the Chickens 09.Nov.2004 19:03

Mary Ann Sveom, president Wisconsin Animal Education Network

I am horrified to read the details of this incident! These people should be reported and prosecuted for their cruelty to animals! Especially that Officer Roper (Roeper)! It physically hurts me thinking of those poor little creatures suffering so. I was just feeding some ducks in a parking lot today admiring their beauty, and I feel the same about chickens and all. They all should be treated with respect and kindness. We probably would have ignored the warning and taken some of them anyway. I doubt if the officers would've really chased so many activists running in different directions. It would have been considered an act of civil disobediance and I doubt if any charges really would've been filed. You could've pleaded temporary insanity anyway. Thanks to you dear activists for doing all you felt you could. I wish I could wipe the scene from your minds so you wouldn't have to remember it all.

Ok, several things about the Oregonian article are.. 09.Nov.2004 19:31


They wrote that after the crash, about the chickens "it was sort of stunning to them". YOU THINK??? And they also said the chickens were "used to warm conditions and so they stayed relatively stationary in the cold". Thanks for your observations Lt. Gregg Hastings! How about the fact that they had broken legs and wings and were struggling in pain, some with their heads trapped under the tires of the vehicle with their bodies thrashing around. This article is so glossed over, it's sad. I wish they would write a REAL cover story. The worst part though is the very end of the article where it says "the biggest thing is that nobody is seriously injured". Well I guess only an animal rights activist would be offended by that.

THANK YOU FOR CARING 09.Nov.2004 20:40


To those individuals who took the time to show compassion towards "just chickens": You are my heroes. Thank you for your thoughtful and loving attempts to bring some kindness and empathy into the lives of factory farm animals. Your compassion was undoubtedly the first and last that these poor creatures had ever felt. Perhaps to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again we should direct our anger and frustration at Draper Valley Farms in Molalla who raised these birds for slaughter.

speechless 10.Nov.2004 11:26

sentient being

This just blows my mind. I swear that I feel horror at the thought of all our beloved and sweet animals dying a terrible death at the slaughterhouse--it grabs me and makes me cry when I think about it and no one else is around--and now this!! What bad attitudes of the troopers and press!! They are really going out of their way!!! We could buy each chicken for $1, they would make 300% profit (is my math right?), and they still refuse--because they like cruelty?!?!?!?!?!?!?! What?!?!?!?! I am goint to go and try to go to the state trooper office and tell them how I feel. The poor chickens, getting tortured and killed all the time, and they don't have the luxury of getting outraged like us. What gives?

Mary Ann, there were just the 10.Nov.2004 14:04


2 rescuers, plus the 1 guy who came at a different time, vs. many highway workers and some police. Not enough to create a diversion with "running in different directions."

Very sad 10.Nov.2004 18:20


Considering the cops routinely shoot PEOPLE in the head, it's
no surprise animals are way down the list. Very sad story.

P.S. DON'T go to kgw.com for the story. It'll just give their
website more hits. More hits = more advertising revenue dollars.
More advertising dollars = more power to the corporate liars
Belo Corp.

I feel bad for the chickens.... 11.Nov.2004 12:55


but I like to eat them.

I am torn because I would not keep chickens as I know that they are kept, yet, I know that these were headed for the block. I guess that the only real difficulty for these chickens and the only thing that distinguishes them from other chickens is that their ride from farm to factory to block was interrupted. Millions of chickens and turkeys take that same ride each year without complication and we can all be glad for that.

Tasty - their lives are 11.Nov.2004 14:41

not happy with the excuses

living hell on the farm too - trapped in battery cages so they can hardly turn around, no vet care, beaks chopped off without anesthesia, feathers rubbed off from the crowding, etc. There are so many that if they get trapped in the cage they just die of starvation or dehydration. No care for their individuality at all. So-called free range and organic are frequently equally bad, as there are no standards. Regardless, their purpose in being farmed for humans is as "things" to be bought and sold - their sentience and any pleasure in existence is not taken into account.

The problem with this incident is that they've already been forced to endure so much suffering in their lives, this is just one more horrific thing in their horrific lives. You do not need to eat them and contribute to this. Really. I don't care if they're "tasty" - that does not justify what is done to them to bring them to your table - any more than a slaveowner saying that he'd like to have his field plowed justifies owning slaves in the deep south. You've got to get out of the slaveholder mentality - towards humans, towards animals - in order to consider yourself a decent human being. You can feel bad, but it doesn't do all the animals who are suffering any good; you contributed to this atrocity, and as you eat them, you continue to do so.


Thanks, Mother Hen 12.Nov.2004 10:30

Mother Duck

Thanks, Mother Hen, for your wonderful and educational comments about chickens. I have never had a personal relationship with a chicken, but I have raised abandoned baby ducks and freed them when they reached maturity. They are wonderful, loving animals. I always know that I don't feel the same about those species that I haven't had personal relationships with, but I always remember that each species is uniquely wonderful. Every time I talk to someone who has had a striking encounter with a species I haven't "met" yet (I once read about a hunter who came eye-to-eye with a moose and never hunted again), I am enriched.