The emotional lives of animals and children with Dr. Karen Davis
Dr. Karen Davis, Ph.D. founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia joins eHealth Radio and the Animal Health & Health News Channels.
Listen to interview with host Eric Michaels and guest Dr. Karen Davis discuss the following:
You just were a panelist in New York talking about Where Did Our Compassion Go? Children, Adults and the Loss of the Human-Animal Bond and you wrote a book review on a similar subject – the emotional lives of animals and children. This is a very important subject. Can you tell us more about it?
What happens between childhood and adulthood that causes most children to outgrow their primal delight in and empathy with animals and become detached, callous and indifferent toward them?
You regard farmed animal sanctuaries as vitally important for the animals, the caregivers and the public, who otherwise have little or no way of meeting and learning about chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, goats and other animals. Can you explain your thoughts about that?
Your review of William Crane’s book, The Emotional Lives of Animals and Children includes the thoughts of educators, psycho-analysts and ethologists. Would you recommend this book for parents?
KAREN DAVIS, PhD is the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the compassionate and
respectful treatment of domestic fowl. Founded in 1990, United Poultry
Concerns addresses the treatment of domestic fowl in food production,
science, education, entertainment, and human companionship situations.
Karen has a PhD in English from the University of Maryland-College Park
where she taught for 12 years in the English Department.
Karen’s articles have appeared in The Faculty Voice (University
of Maryland), Journal of English and Germanic Philology, English
Language Notes, Teaching English in the Two-Year College, and Between
the Species: A Journal of Ethics. Her work, letters-to-the editor and
op-eds have been featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, New York
Daily News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times,
Washingtonian, Altoona Mirror, Chicago Tribune, Portland Tribune,
Chicago Sun-Times, Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer,
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Potomac
Gazette, Jerusalem Post, Harper’s Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Minnesota
Monthly, Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Nation, Baltimore Sun, Los
Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, “Dear
Abby,” Egg Industry, Feedstuffs, Journal of the American Veterinary
Medical Association, Canadian Veterinary Journal, One Green Planet, and
many other publications. Karen has appeared on numerous TV and radio
shows including The Howard Stern Show, The Daily Show, Fact Finders on
WB Channel 11 News @ Ten in New York City, 1010 WINS’ John Montone
reports/CBS New York, Fox Television, and This American Life on National
In 2011, Karen published a chapter on her growth as an activist,
“From Hunting Grounds to Chicken Rights: My Story in an Eggshell,” in
Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice (University of
Illinois Press). Her contribution, “Birds Used in Food Production,”
appears in The Global Guide to Animal Protection (University of Illinois
Press, 2013). Karen’s essay, “The Mental Life of Chickens as Observed
Through Their Social Relationships,” is the opening chapter in
Experiencing Animal Minds: An Anthology of Animal-Human Encounters
(Columbia University Press, 2012), and her essay, “From Animal
Oppression to Animal Liberation: A Historical Reflection,” is the
Afterword in Defining Critical Animal Studies: An Intersectional Social
Justice Approach to Liberation (Peter Lang, 2014). Karen’s chapter,
“Anthropomorphic Visions of Chickens Bred for Human Consumption,” in
Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable (Canadian Scholars’
Press, 2014), analyzes the transformation of chickens and turkeys into
mutilated forms of existence as an endeavor not only of the poultry
industry, but as a “welfare improvement” strategy endorsed by elements
of the so-called animal protection movement.
In 2010, Karen and a group of New York City activists formed The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos (www.EndChickensAsKaporos.com),
a project of United Poultry Concerns comprising people who seek to
replace the cruel practice of swinging and slaughtering chickens in
Kaporos rituals with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement. On
October 9, 2010, Pulitzer Prizewinning photojournalist Carol Guzy
published “An ancient tradition draws protests” in the online edition of
The Washington Post, prompted by the Alliance’s Rally to End Chickens
as Kaporos, on September 12, 2010, in Brooklyn, NY (www.endchickensaskaporos.com/101011wpost.html).
Karen's work is prominently featured in the National Museum of
Animals & Society’s online exhibit “Un-Cooped: Deconstructing the
Domesticated Chicken.” This unique museum, which opened in May 2013 to
correspond with UPC's International Respect for Chickens Day May 4, is a
treasure house filled with historical and contemporary documents about
chickens. Visit Un-Cooped at www.uncooped.org.
Karen Davis is the author of several books including A Home for
Henny (a children’s book published by UPC); Instead of Chicken, Instead
of Turkey: A Poultryless ‘Poultry’ Potpourri (a cookbook published by
the Book Publishing Co.); Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside
Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (Book Publishing Co.); More Than a
Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality (Lantern Books);
and The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing
Atrocities (Lantern Books). The 2009 Revised Edition of Karen’s landmark
book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs (first published in 1996) is
described by the American Library Association's Choice magazine as
"Riveting . . . brilliant . . . noteworthy for its breadth and depth."
See Book Reviews at www.upc-online.org/bookreviews.