Karen Davis (activist)

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Karen Davis
Born (1944-02-04) February 4, 1944 (age 70)
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Residence Machipongo, Virginia
Nationality American
Education PhD in English
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
Occupation Writer, animal rights advocate
Years active 1983–present
Organization Founder and president, United Poultry Concerns
United Poultry Concerns

Karen Davis (born February 4, 1944) is an American animal rights advocate, and president of United Poultry Concerns, a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to address the treatment of domestic fowl – including chickens, turkeys and ducks – in factory farming. Davis also maintains a sanctuary.

She is the author of several books on veganism and animal rights, including Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry (1997) and The Holocaust and the Henmaid's Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities (2005).


Davis was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania; her parents were Amos and Mary Elizabeth Davis.[1] Amos was the Blair County District attorney from 1966 to 1975. Davis graduated from Hollidaysburg Area High School in 1962. She studied for her undergraduate degree at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Davis obtained her PhD in English from the University of Maryland, College Park.[2] Davis married Dr. George Allan Cate (deceased). She has three brothers: Tim Davis of Palo Alto, California, Amos Davis of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Andrew Davis of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.


Davis regularly addresses the annual National Animal Rights conferences, and was inducted in July 2002 into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame "for outstanding contributions to animal liberation."[3] Since 1999, she and United Poultry Concerns have hosted six conferences on farmed animal advocacy issues. She launched a campaign against National Public Radio's "This American Life" for its annual "Poultry Slam" show, arguing that host Ira Glass was contributing to the poor treatment and slaughter of chickens and turkeys. Eventually, Glass visited Davis's sanctuary and announced on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2008 that he had become a vegetarian thanks to Davis.[4]


  • A Home for Henny. United Poultry Concerns, 1996 (children's book).
  • Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless "Poultry" Potpourri. Book Publishing Co., 1999. ISBN 978-1570670831
  • More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality. Lantern Books, 2001. ISBN 978-1930051881
  • The Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities. Lantern Books, 2005. ISBN 978-1590560914
  • Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry. Book Publishing Co., Revised edition, 2009. ISBN 978-1570672293
  • "Thinking like a chicken: Farm Animals and the Feminine Connection" in Adams, Carol J. Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations. Duke University Press, 1995.
  • "Open Rescue: Putting a Face on Liberation," in Nocella, Anthony and Best, Steven. Terrorists or Freedom Fighters: Reflections on the Liberation of Animals. Lantern Books, 2004.
  • "From Hunting Grounds to Chicken Rights: My Story in an Eggshell," in Kemmerer, Lisa A. Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice. University of Illinois Press, 2011.
  • "Birds Used in Food Production," in Linzey, Andrew The Global Guide to Animal Protection. University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • "The Social Life of Chickens" in Smith, Julie A. and Mitchell, Robert W. (eds.) Experiencing Animals: Encounters Between Animal and Human Minds. Columbia University Press (forthcoming).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Downey, Beth Ann (2012-10-07). "Altoona native pursues poultry advocacy". Altoona Mirror. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-10-08. "It was a day when Altoona native Karen Davis was just a child, walking to a friend's house near 58th street in the Eldorado neighborhood." 
  2. ^ For a story that mentions her early activism, see "Campus Life: Maryland; A Regent's Seat For Frank Perdue Draws Protests", The New York Times, March 3, 1991.
  3. ^ "U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame". arconference.org. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  4. ^ "Ira Glass on David Letterman". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-12-02.