[Editor's Note: The following is the text of a media release sent out today from United Poultry Concerns.]

MACHIPONGO, Va. -- May is International Respect for Chickens Month, and May 4 is International Respect for Chickens Day. United Poultry Concerns launched International Respect for Chickens Day in 2005 to celebrate chickens and protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations.

People are urged to do an ACTION for chickens on or around May 4 such as leafleting on a busy street corner, holding an office party or classroom celebration; arranging a library display; writing letters to the editor and doing radio call-ins; tabling at a local church, school or shopping mall; hosting a vegan open house; or simply talking to family, friends or strangers about the plight -- and delight -- of chickens and how people can help them.
This year's activities include leafleting, library displays, vegan parties and poster displays in Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Kanab, Utah; Orlando; and Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis joins UPC in recognizing May as International Respect for Chickens Month with a calendar photo contest designed to capture the beauty, joy, intelligence, dignity and zany exuberance of chickens.

Chickens evolved in a leafy green world of vibrant colors and sounds. Today, these lively birds are entombed in squalid sheds. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production said of its tour of animal farms in 2008: "The most appalling thing we witnessed was a broiler facility that produces chickens for eating. It was totally dark, and the dust and ammonia smells were overwhelming."

Animal scientist John Webster calls the treatment of chickens raised for food "in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe, systematic example of man's inhumanity to another sentient animal."

By contrast, UPC promotes compassion for chickens and a vegan alternative to poultry and egg products -- the most common cause of food poisoning in the home.

"Over the years, people who once thought they would never care about a chicken have changed their minds after learning about the terrible suffering endured by these birds and after meeting some happy chickens who escaped to live in our sanctuary," says UPC President Karen Davis. Davis is the author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry, published in March 2009.

SOURCE: United Poultry Concerns via PR Newswire..