Slaughtering Chickens For “Art” Cancelled in Lawrence, Kansas!

During the past month, United Poultry Concerns, working with Animal Outreach of Kansas (, has published 5 Action Alerts urging people to contact the Spencer Museum of Art and related institutions in Lawrence, KS to insist that an “art” project that these institutions were supporting, called “The Story of Chickens” by Amber Hansen, an artist-in-residence at the University of Kansas, be cancelled. To view these Alerts, see

As originally set forth, Amber’s project involved carting 5 chickens around town in a decorated coop in April, after which they would be slaughtered in a public ceremony, and eaten. Last week the City Attorney’s office informed Amber that her project was illegal within city limits. Today in response to our alert to their Kansas bureaus on Saturday, the Associated Press reported “Lawrence: No Chicken Slaughter for Art”:

Yesterday, Lawrence resident and Animal Outreach of Kansas activist Judy Carman and University of Kansas professor Elizabeth Schultz met with Amber Hansen to discuss the project. Here is Judy’s report on that meeting.

Meeting with Amber Hansen, her partner, Nicholas, Elizabeth Schultz and Judy Carman

2-27-12, 10:15 am to 1:15pm

Regarding Amber’s “The Story of Chickens.”

According to Amber at this time, there will be no chickens on display in public and no chickens publicly slaughtered as planned at the end of the event. This is great news and is largely a result of the laws in place preventing displaying on public property and killing in city limits, but I believe she has also been affected by all the letters, emails, postings, etc. that you all have sent as well.

She still plans to build the “coop” which, it turns out, is a large (approximately 12 feet long) enclosure with no floor. It is meant to be set on different grassy areas so that the chickens (had there been any) could forage. She needs to get permission from the city to display the empty coop in three different areas in town and plans to do so. She made the comment that the empty coop will be symbolic of the disconnection of urban spaces with animals.

March 30 marks the opening of her event. This will be a showing at the Percolator Gallery of the coop itself with no chickens in it. She is also inviting local artists to display animal related art, poetry, etc. that night at the Percolator. She is in the process of creating a submission form for artists who wish to display art. This Opening will be followed by her displaying the coop in several other public places without chickens in it.

April 21 will be the end of the event. On that evening she will host a Public Dialogue and a meal prepared by 4 chefs. I asked if one or more of the chefs could bring vegan dishes, and she agreed to one. She has funding for the food and can pay each chef up to $250.00. Of course, this means the other 3 chefs (friends of hers) will no doubt bring meat dishes and possibly even chicken, but there will be no public slaughter and no eating of chickens that were to be part of her original plan. We suggested that the meal be entirely vegan, of course, but she stated that her message is not to promote veganism but rather to get people thinking and realizing they have choices.

She will have speakers at this Dialogue. She asked both Beth [Elizabeth Schultz] and me to speak so that is great.

Amber grew up on a farm and participated in slaughtering animals. She said she doesn’t enjoy eating meat and tried to be veg but ended up being convinced she had to have meat to be healthy.  Now she says she eats very little meat and only when she knows how the animal was raised. My feeling is that she was traumatized by the slaughtering in her childhood and is trying very hard to reconcile that disconnection within herself. She says most of her art involves animals.

She wants all the art at the opening night to be from local folks.  So if you have any vegan artwork, writings, etc. to display, please consider sharing it at the opening event. However I am going to ask her if she would be willing to have some non-local artists display their vegan art.   

Well there you have it. Hopefully, she won’t backtrack on us.  I gave her a copy of my Peace to All Beings book, United Poultry Concerns literature and magazine Poultry Press, Farm Sanctuary literature, and a DVD containing Meet Your Meat, Egg Farm Investigation, and Bruce Friedrich’s Veganism in a Nutshell.  She has seen Earthlings.  She is also a fan of artist Sue Coe.  Our next step will be working to get the galleries here to adopt a no live animals policy.

Thanks to everyone for all your hard work on this. This is such a great opportunity to raise consciousness and compassion for the animals. – Judy Carman


To learn more about protecting animals from exploitation as “art objects,” see the Justice for Animals Arts Guild Website at Established by Chicken Run Rescue director Mary Britton Clouse, JAAG exists to support artists whose art and actions advance the rights of animals and oppose the harm and exploitation of animals in the making of art. Mary has been an invaluable participant in this campaign to stop the use of chickens in Amber Hansen’s “Story of Chickens.” The real story of chickens here is about how artists, activists, scholars and caring people, in Lawrence, Kansas and around the world, have banded together for chickens and their right to be treated with compassion and respect.

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Protest The Percolator

Please see the alert from United Poultry Concerns below.

Here is the current board of directors for The Percolator. Slaughter is not art. Make your voices heard.

Dave Loewenstein, chair

Jordan Yochim, vice chair

Christina Hoxie, secretary

Eric Farnsworth, treasurer

KT Walsh

Kelly Kearns

Craig Comstock

Rachael Perry

Peter Wright

Laura Ramberg

Urge The Percolator Not to Be Part of Slaughtering Chickens for “Art” in Lawrence, Kansas

On February 8 we published an alert that a Lawrence, KS “artist,” Amber Hansen, was planning a chicken slaughter “art” exhibit sponsored by the University of Kansas’s Spencer Museum of Art: Protest Chicken Slaughter “Art” Project in Lawrence, Kansas.

Comments and letters posted to the Spencer Museum Facebook page and The Kansas City Star
( overwhelmingly oppose the “Story of Chickens: A Revolution.” Check out those Comments!

Quick background: Five chickens are scheduled to be wheeled around town in a fancy coop starting March 30. On April 21, the coop is scheduled to close and the birds are to be slaughtered in a communal bloodfest celebrating “respect for animals” at the Lawrence Percolator, a nonprofit project space of the Lawrence Corporation for the Advancement of Visual Arts. (Note: Restaurant 715, originally set to prepare the dead chickens for the meal, has canceled out. Yay!)

What Should I Do?

Please urge The Percolator to cancel its agreement to provide space for the chickens to be slaughtered at its location. Urge The Percolator to withdraw its support from and involvement with this project. The only reason The Percolator, Spencer Museum, Rockets Grants, Amber Hansen and their allies can get away with calling this fascist project “art” is because society abuses farmed animals with impunity and vested interests can exploit the total helplessness of chickens especially and clothe their cruelty in cheap rhetoric about “humane” farming, “free expression,” and fostering “public dialogue.” Tell The Percolator to WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. Sticking knives in animals’ throats is Not art. And it certainly is not “revolutionary.”

Lawrence Percolator
Attn: Eric Farnsworth
Post a Comment at: The Story of Chickens

Also Contact:
Dr. Saralyn Reece Hardy, Director of the Spencer Museum of Art and an original Advisory Committee Member of The Percolator. Email: SRH@KU.EDU. Copy all correspondences to:

For our three previous alerts about this snuff “art” exhibit,

see Latest Alerts at

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Incubating time again

I arrived just in time to see the parents make the incubating switch. I can never tell which one is which unless they are sitting right next to each other (female bald eagles are generally bigger). I think mom arrived to relieve dad and he is the one sitting on the branch. I look forward to seeing how many eaglets they have this year. Click on picture to enlarge.

© Chris Taylor

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Protest Chicken Slaughter “Art” Project in Lawrence, Kansas

Please read the action alert below from United Poultry Concerns. I encourage you to let the Spencer and Percolator know this horrific “exhibit” must be stopped. Slaughter is not art. Thank you!



Phone: 785.864.4710

Lawrence Percolator

Dear Friends,

Here is the promotional description of this slimy chicken “art” project that’s due to start in March. We need to stop it. Please post your opposition and urge cancellation of “The Story of Chickens” at Feel free to circulate this alert and get others to join you in saying No to slaughter as “art.” Thank you!

Promotional Description

“The Story of Chickens: A Revolution” by artist Amber Hansen will debut in March 2012 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting for a chicken coop on wheels, and the installation of 5 chickens. During the event, community members will be invited to share personal stories about their relationships with animals and to discuss the project.

The coop will be a nomadic sculpture that will relocate every 4 days. It will be created with the technical assistance of Cotter Mitchel and will be designed to be both functional and beautiful. A public message board in the form of a chalkboard will be mounted on it, to update and inform viewers about the birds and the project.

The chickens will inhabit the coop for one month. During this time many members of the community will become engaged through storytelling, proximity, and caring for the birds. The project aims to create a daily interaction with animals on a communal level. Volunteers and community members alike will become guardians of the chickens and they will have the opportunity to build a relationship with the birds.

At the end of the month, the chickens will be removed from the coop and butchered in a humane way under the guidance of Hank Will. The public will be invited, and encouraged to witness this phase of the life cycle that is often hidden from our perception. Such slaughter takes place on a mass scale every day, but each generation becomes further removed from this reality.

Participants will then be invited to a potluck that will take place the next day, when the birds will be prepared for consumption by 715 restaurant head chef Michael Beard. The meal will take place at the Percolator Art Gallery, an alternative community-run space in downtown Lawrence.

By building a relationship with the birds, the project will transform the contemporary view of chickens as merely “livestock” to the beautiful and unique creatures they are, while promoting alternative and healthy processes of caring for them. It will also make visible local groups who are already making efforts to do so.

The public will be notified of the coop’s location via the Lawrence Journal World, so that they can watch its location as it moves throughout town.
Hansen: “Interacting with animals allows us a more complete understanding of humanity; it reminds us of our relationship with the natural world, and our responsibility in caring for it.”

About the Artist
Amber Hansen is currently the Artist in Residence at The University of Kansas living in Hashinger Hall. Amber has been involved in numerous community based projects and has experience painting murals, film-making, caring for farm animals. It is from your childhood experience, being surrounded by animals, that this project was inspired.

Cotter Mitchel: Born, last century, and raised in Lawrence, Kansas. Mitchell began his “Art Support” career in 1984 at the Spencer Museum of Art as an Exhibition Technician. Since 1989 Mitchell has managed the Common Shop for the Art & Design Departments, assisting students and faculty with all aspects of fabrication in varied mediums. Mitchell freelance works with local and international artists, and galleries including the fabrication of public sculptures, packing, shipping and display of art objects.

Hank Will : Hank Will-Will’s career in agriculture began while working toward his Ph.D. in plant biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Chicago. After leaving Chicago, Hank put his rural Harrisburg, South Dakota farm to work. He grew and direct marketed several thousand free-range broilers annually from that location. His substantial laying flock supplied the Banquet and other local food charities with hundreds of dozens of donated eggs year round and he has also donated hundreds of pounds of free-range turkey to the Banquet and Sioux Falls Food Pantry. He is currently the editor of GRIT Magazine.


UPC posted the following comment on the Spencer Museum’s Facebook Page:

United Poultry Concerns opposes Amber Hansen’s proposed “The Story of Chickens: A Revolution.” A traveling carnival of animals through Lawrence, culminating in the communal bloodletting execution of the five birds, most likely in front of each other, seems like a desperate attempt on the part of the gallery and the “artist” to be “original.” But it isn’t. It’s stale, cruel, and impoverished.

In addition, the birds so used are most likely the very genetically-engineered, industrially produced hatchery chickens locavores claim to oppose as part of their opposition to “factory farming” of which this is in fact not an alternative but an example. Cloying rhetoric notwithstanding, there is nothing kind or respectful about turning a helpless bird into a degraded spectacle, and contrary to claims that throat-cutting is “humane,” it is not. Throat-cutting is extremely painful to the victim, made worse when the victim is immobilized in a killing cone that prevents him or her from struggling, while conveniently hiding the evidence of suffering (apart from the hoarse cries of the birds) from view.

Cuddling these chickens and gaining their trust, then turning on them with a knife, while this may be a standard farming practice, is neither humane nor necessary, and it certainly isn’t art. It’s plain old gratuitous cruelty seeking a legitimized outlet. The project is completely misconceived. It is not revolutionary in any worthwhile sense. We urge its immediate cancellation.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, VA 23405

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