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Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (REVISED ED)

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Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (REVISED ED) [Paperback]

Karen Davis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 10, 2009 1570672296 978-1570672293 Revised
Karen Davis wrote Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs in the mid-1990s to focus attention on the billions of chickens buried alive on factory farms. The book was a catalyst for animal rights activists seeking to develop effective strategies to expose and relieve the plight of chickens. United Poultry Concerns campaign in the 1990s to reveal the U.S. egg industry s cruel practice of starving hens to force them to molt their feathers and cut the cost of egg production was decisive in shifting advocacy attention to chickens and the hidden causes of Salmonella and Campylobacter food poisoning.

This new edition documents what has happened since the book first appeared the waging of high-profile campaigns to get rid of battery cages for laying hens, undercover investigations exposing the appalling cruelty to chickens and turkeys by poultry industry workers, globalization of chicken production and its effect on the environment and spread of avian influenza, and how farm animal sanctuaries have become key players in debunking industry myths with truthful accounts of the sensitive and intelligent birds being brutalized in the name of food. It also effectively explains why these birds are so ill, why eating them makes people sick, and what can be done to cure the pathology of the modern poultry industry.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Former English professor Davis is founder and president of the nonprofit organization United Poultry Concerns. After introducing readers to a brief history of poultry farming and the natural and social lives of chickens, Davis focuses on the egg and broiler industries, primarily in the United States. This is followed by a chapter on slaughter, which provides more gruesome detail than some readers will find comfortable. In the final chapter, vegetarianism, especially veganism, is promoted as the only effective solution. As one might guess from the title, chickens are considered from an animal-rights perspective, and this publication is intended as a consciousness-raising expose of what Davis sees as a cruel, obscene, and morally handicapped industry. There is not much new here, but the author does a good job of drawing from a wide variety of poultry science, animal-rights and other literature, including Page Smith and Charles Daniel's marvelous The Chicken Book (LJ 7/75), to make her case. For animal rights collections and curious patrons who wonder where their eggs and chicken nuggets really come from.?William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Many Americans have made the choice to eat less red meat. For some, it is simply a health decision; others are choosing to become vegetarians for ethical reasons. Another factor is that books such as Jeremy Rifkin's Beyond Beef (1992) have exposed unsanitary processing conditions and alerted readers to the environmental consequences of raising and maintaining large cattle herds. Davis now targets those who eat chicken, turkey, or eggs with her scathing indictment of the poultry industry. She is president of United Poultry Concerns, an animal rights and animal welfare advocacy group, and she has previously written a vegetarian cookbook, Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey (1993), featuring "alternatives to traditional poultry and egg recipes." Upbraiding those who breed and raise poultry, Davis documents the inhumane conditions of factory farming, explicitly detailing the lives and deaths of battery hens raised in tiered brooding trays and of broiler chickens. She also charges that so-called free-range chickens fare no better. Bolstered by unyielding conviction, Davis argues her case with passion. David Rouse --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Book Publishing Company (TN); Revised edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570672296
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570672293
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 twelve years in the English Department.

Karen Davis has essays in Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations (Duke UP, 1995), Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals (Lantern Books, 2004), Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy Studies Journal Vol. 2, No. 2 (Center on Animal Liberation Affairs, 2005), and Encyclopedia of Animals and Humans (Greenwood, 2007). Her essay 'Procrustean Solutions to Animal Identity and Welfare Problems' is forthcoming in a collection published by SUNY Press.

At the University of Maryland Karen founded the Animal Rights Coalition in 1989, and she pioneered a course on the role of animals in the Western philosophic and literary tradition in the University of Maryland Honors Program. Karen is a featured speaker at the annual National Animal Rights and Taking Action for Animals conferences in Washington, DC and Los Angeles. On July 2, 2002, Karen was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame 'for outstanding contributions to animal liberation.'

On November 14, 1999, Karen Davis was profiled in 'For the Birds,' in The Washington Post, winner of the 1999 Ark Trust Genesis Award for Outstanding Newspaper Feature for 1999 (

On November 14, 2000, Karen and United Poultry Concerns were featured on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Primetime TV show Witness, in 'Chickens are People Too,' produced by the Emmy-winning filmmaker, John Kastner. In 2002 Karen gave a presentation on 'The Beauty, Dignity & Abuse of Chickens' at the Yale University Chicken Conference, May 17-19.

On April 20, 2007, media celebrity Ira Glass, host of the popular Public Radio International program This American Life aired on NPR, appeared on Late Night with David Letterman where he told Letterman and millions of viewers that his visit to United Poultry Concerns' chicken sanctuary in 1998 led him to become a vegetarian. Karen Davis and UPC's sanctuary are currently featured in two major films on DVD: The Emotional World of Farm Animals narrated by Jeffrey Masson & frequently aired on NPR; and Animal People: The Humane Movement in America produced by Gary Kaskel and United Action for Animals in 2007.

Since 1999, Karen and UPC have hosted eight annual conferences on farmed animal advocacy issues. March 24-25, 2007. In March 2008, Karen and UPC hosted a conference on farmed animal and vegetarian advocacy issues in Virginia.

Karen 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 New Revised Edition of Karen's landmark book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs will be out in 2009.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Inside Look at Inexcusable Atrocities October 6, 2004
By CreepyT
Dr. Karen Davis postulates "[c]an one regard a fellow creature as a property item, an investment, a piece of meat, an `it,' without degenerating into cruelty and dishonesty towards that creature? Human slavery was brutal. Does anyone really believe that nonhuman slavery operates on a higher plane?"

The first portion of this very important book beckons the reader to view chickens as more than mere food, more than simply an aspect of agribusiness, but rather sentient beings capable of a wide range of emotions not too different from our own. Davis accomplishes this by incorporating various personal stories and anecdotes regarding her own chickens, as well as quotations from other chicken owners and those who have visited slaughter houses and hatcheries first hand.

After making this key point, the reader is treated to the appallingly repulsive goings-on at hatcheries and slaughter houses, as well as other malevolent profanities we humans put chickens through so we can continue to eat "well." Davis describes in excruciating, brutally honest detail the horrid environment in which chickens (particularly egg-laying) spend their lives, in their entirety. This lack of a proper, more naturalized, environment leads to disease and malnutrition in these chickens, as well as "cannibalistic" behavior (in actuality a manifestation of their natural pecking instinct), which in turn lead to hideous vaccination and de-beaking processes. Furthermore, the actual process of slaughter is described in meticulous detail, including electrocution, gassing, and neck-slicing (all of which most chickens are still alive for).
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ralph Nader said one couldn't stop all the suffering... December 27, 1999
but, "you could reduce it." Karen Davis is commended for the passion and dedication she shows when taking on the topic of poultry production. This book opens our eyes to the truth about just what animal suffering and environmental degradation goes into that chicken soup. No educational program is complete without a course in modern food production...not the side presented by the factory farming industry, but by those who have a different slant. Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs shows us what the poultry producers don't want us to see. A must read for those who want to know how to change the world, for those who wish to "reduce the suffering."˙
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frighteningly accurate portrayal July 13, 2000
I bought Karen Davis' book at the Vegetarian Summerfest 2000, an event from which omnivores and herbivores alike can gain a lifetime worth of empowerment. I read her book in two days, despite the density of information within. Inspired, curious, and horrified, I checked out the University of Georgia's poultry science department and the local Goldkist "processing" plant (more accurately referred to as a slaughterhouse), and found them to boast of the same atrocities Dr Davis had rightly condemned. It's a must-read!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably more information than you care to know... October 6, 2005
By kyrais
This book does a very thorough job of being convincing about becoming vegan. The book talks about how chickens are crippled because their skeletons can't keep up with the enormous amounts of flesh they're genetically bred to grow. It talks about how unwanted male chicks are ground up alive as feed, how chicks are carelessly crushed underfoot when loading them, how the chickens' uteri are forced out of their bodies to be pecked at by fellow hens because the eggs they bear are too big for their bodies. Even being lacto-ovo vegetarian is contributing to this cruelty because this is what happens so the egg industry can flourish and provide us with cheap eggs. It talks about how hens are de-beaked because they are stressed into cannibalism, they are starved and dehydrated to force them into another laying cycle, and how they are exposed to levels of ammonia that it drives them blind. After reading this book, I have concluded that unless one raises ones own chickens for eggs and meat, there is no way to eat chickens with a confortable conscience. Even ritual killing supposed to be more humane is cruel, letting the chicken bleed itself out in pain and panic. Even if it were not for animal rights, the fact that the chicken carcasses have huge amounts of antibiotics, hormones, cancerous tumors, pus-filled innards...would be enough to convince me that eating the meat does me no good at all, karma or no karma. I've heard it said that cooking something in your toilet is about the same as eating a chicken...after reading this book, I'm inclined to believe what I once thought was just hype.
I would have given this book 5 stars but for the fact that the author doesn't really go into what eating these products over time could do to humans.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars (...) October 25, 2001
This was a great book. The first few pages were hard to read but the rest of the book made up for it. It gavea detailed account from poultry,government and scientific sources. Youll never feel the same way about eating chicken or eggs in the same way again. Great job!!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Case to Stop Cruelty July 17, 2005
Karen Davis shows with passion, science, and close-up observations how we take billions of delightful, smart, social animals and put them through Hell each year because we like the taste of their flesh or eggs.

It's all unnecessary and easy to stop. Veggie chicken, either out of the freezer case at your local grocery store, or made from a recipe, tastes like chicken but without the bitter aftertaste of knowing that you've supported severe confinment, mutilations, forced starvations and other cruelties.

If you're thinking about reducing meat consumption, adding more vegetarian dishes into your diet, or just wondering how you can help make the world a more peaceful place, buy this book, and before you're halfway done you'll be saving lives.

(Dr. Davis' book on turkeys is superb, also. It's amazing how we put animals down, and use that as an excuse to make them suffer.)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars sad, but useful
Although this is a long list of the cruelties inflicted on the chickens on factory farms, I was able to find a lot of useful information on the natural life of the chicken. Read more
Published 9 days ago by D. Montano
Author Karen Davis wrote in the first chapter of this 1998 book, "It would be rash to suggest that before the 20th century, the life of chickens was rosy... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Steven H. Propp
5.0 out of 5 stars A devastating look at chicken egg and "meat" production.
Last fall, the Book Publishing Company offered me a copy of Karen Davis's PRISONED CHICKENS, POISONED EGGS for review. (Originally published in 1996, the book was revised in 2009. Read more
Published on November 23, 2010 by Kelly Garbato
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticking Up for Chickens
The original (1996) edition of Karen Davis' "Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs" was a groundbreaking study of the poultry industry that focused worldwide attention on the plight of... Read more
Published on February 16, 2010 by Norm Phelps
5.0 out of 5 stars Arguing for a more vegetarian world
Chickens are one of the world's most embraced food animals, but the modern handling of them could make their tasty flesh not so sweet. Read more
Published on May 11, 2009 by Midwest Book Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, thoroughly researched indictment of the poultry industry
It seems more people than ever are talking about chickens, and I love it. From California's Proposition 2 -- which will, among other things, ban the use of battery cages for egg... Read more
Published on May 4, 2009 by Mark Hawthorne
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
An outstanding exposé of modern intensive poultry production. The author displays a respectful,tender appreciation of the birds she writes about, yet unflinchingly takes the... Read more
Published on April 10, 2009 by C. Druce
5.0 out of 5 stars The Case for Chicken Rights
Chickens don't get no respect.... But the fact is that the suffering of commercially raised poultry is the world's largest animal welfare problem. Read more
Published on March 31, 2009 by Harold Herzog
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
The author is very knowledgeable about the subject but she sees chickens as human beings which will be a point of view that her readers may not share. Read more
Published on July 31, 2007 by Linda L. Noland
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing...
After reading this marvelous work, I can't help but wonder if imprisoned humans make poisoned license plates. Definitely something which should be researched.
Published on November 10, 2005 by Jack Dempsey
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