Karen Davis, founder-president of United Poultry Concerns

by | Apr 29, 2020

Owing to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing Stay at Home order, I produced and recorded this show remotely from home, the third program prepared this way at the Talking Animals corporate headquarters in Jupiter Farms, Florida, and likely the way the broadcast will come together for the foreseeable future.

Karen Davis—founder of United Poultry Concerns (UPC), a nonprofit founded in 1990 that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic foul—recalls growing up in Altoona, Pennsylvania as a sensitive girl highly attuned to animals, which made it all the more difficult that hunting was a central activity of her family. (She additionally notes that the hunting dogs were treated quite differently from how the family dogs were.) Davis tells the story of the time, in the summer 30-plus years ago, when she and her husband rented a small house in Maryland, discovered the landlady was raising a flock of chicken, whom David visited daily, until they disappeared. One was accidentally left behind, a “broiler” chicken whose bred-in traits left her deformed. Davis and her husband took in the chicken, he named her Viva (“because she lived”). She describes how this experience changed her, putting Davis on the path to launch UPC, which this year marks its 30th anniversary. This interview was tied to another important UPC milestone: the 15th anniversary of International Respect for Chickens Day, held on May 4. She recounts the pivotal role in the creation of the event played by Harry Shearer, longtime host of the radio program, “Le Show,” veteran voice actor on “The Simpsons,” and star of “This Is Spinal Tap.”  Speaking of cultural figures and radio masters, she also discusses how “This American Life” host Ira Glass underwent a major transformation after visiting Davis at the UPC sanctuary—and talked about it on “Late Show with David Letterman” with Dave–giving UPC a significant boost.  (https://www.upc-online.org,   https://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns)



ALSO: I spoke with Natalia Lima, who owns The Curious Cat Bakery, a St. Petersburg vegan bakery she decided to devote full time to, leaving a job at the Animal Legal Defense Fund—not long before the pandemic hit. The conversation touches on an array of topics, from how she got into baking, some of her bakery’s specialties, how she’s had to adapt her business in the COVID-19 era—including offering online baking classes and “Vegan Baking 101” eBooks (https://curiouscatbakery.com,   https://www.instagram.com/curiouscatbakery/, https://www.facebook.com/curiouscatbakery/)

COMEDY CORNER:  Maria Bamford’s “Vegetarian Oskar Schindler” (https://www.mariabamford.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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