California Museum Supports Killing Newborn Chicks

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Museums exist to educate and amuse people, but those things should never be done at the expense of other living beings. Yet the California Science Center hatches baby chicks in an attempt to teach students about lifecycles.

What these exercises fail to teach students is that the chicks are often sent back to their supplier and likely killed in order to prevent potential disease transmission to the rest of the companies' flocks. In fact, the Science Center confirmed that the chicks from its cruel exhibit are killed shortly after hatching. How's that for a "lifecycle"?

baby chicks

Not only do these babies end up being killed shortly after they're born for a lesson that could have been easily taught without a live demonstration, such as these modern and humane alternatives—it inadvertently teaches students that animals are tools—which is wrong.

These chicks are living, breathing, thinking animals who should be with their mothers—not handled by mobs of children. Even before they're born, chicks need their mothers, who carefully rotate the eggs. Those grown in an incubator can become sick and deformed, and their organs can even stick to the sides of the shell as a result of not being rotated properly. If the eggs hatch on weekends when no one is at the museum, the newborn chicks will be neglected until someone can check on them.

chick in hand

These exercises put children at risk, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chicks can look healthy but still carry salmonella and expose children to the bacteria. Chicks used in exhibits have also carried E. coli. Any place that conducts chick hatchings is a potential breeding ground for these and other pathogens.

Bottom line: These dangerous and cruel exercises don't belong anywhere near impressionable children who have inherently weak immune systems.

Tell the California Science Center to stop hatching chicks and use virtual alternatives that are interesting, educational, and safe!

Jeffrey N.
Rudolph
California Science Center

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