A UC Berkeley student, apparently trying to make the point that people are too removed from their food source, slaughtered a chicken in front of shocked classmates.
A campus animal rights group has called for the arrest and expulsion of the student and the suspension of the instructor who taught the undergraduate “New Genres” art class.
The UC Berkeley department of art practice reprimanded the student for the event, which occurred last month, but will not seek further punishment for what it determined an inappropriate expression of art.
“He was making the point that we’re … so removed from the production of food that we see it as Kentucky Fried Chicken or Twinkies, but that there are plants and animals behind it,” said Loren Partridge, acting chair of the UC Berkeley department of art practice, who noted the student was deeply sorry.
“It was felt by everybody to be in extremely bad taste and not the kind of thing that can be condoned in the classroom.”
In a press release, the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy called for the student to suffer consequences.
“The fact that this brutal slaughter occurred, especially in a classroom setting, is simply unacceptable,” said senior Julie Ahern. “BOAA is demanding that the student be expelled from the university for this obviously cruel act and prosecuted for the possible violation of California Penal Code 597, which prohibits cruelty to animals.”
The press release went on to say of the student who brought the chicken incident to BOAA’s attention: “The undergraduate whistleblower, who wishes to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, stated that the chicken died a gruesome and bloody death.”
The Berkeley East Bay Humane Society has also reviewed the case and decided not to pursue it, Partridge said, because the student wasn’t trying to deliberately torture an animal. Instead, the undergraduate wanted to make the point that people are oblivious to things like the slaughterhouses that deliver pre-packaged chicken to grocery stores.