Kansas State Athletic Department Condemns Chicken Toss

Students have smuggled live chickens to mock Kansas

Feb. 28, 2007

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -The chicken toss has been declared off limits at Kansas State.

For years, Kansas State students have smuggled live chickens into basketball games against Kansas, then thrown them onto the court and behind the opposing bench before tip-off - mocking their rival's Jayhawk mascot.

But an animal rights group objected to the mistreatment of chickens, and the school issued an open letter to fans this week calling for an end to the practice.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals responded to the latest incident during a game Feb. 19 by sending a letter to university president Jon Wefald, claiming at least three chickens were thrown on the court during player introductions.

The letter described chickens as "very intelligent and inquisitive animals" that appeared to have been subjected to "deafening noise, bright lights, terror, abusive handling and likely death for the sake of amusement."

Kansas State had said it would not comment on the complaint, but the athletic department issued a statement Tuesday saying it considers live, non-service animals "contraband." Any fans caught with animals or caught throwing any object onto a playing surface will be ejected from the game and could face prosecution.

"These actions severely tarnish the image of our University, its athletics teams and the majority of our outstanding fans and supporters and while viewed by many as harmless pranks, these acts are likely illegal," the letter said.

Said PETA director Debbie Leahy: "Any student who throws live birds on a basketball court should be thrown out of school."

The Jayhawks beat Kansas State 71-62 in the last meeting, running their overall winning streak in Manhattan to 24 games.


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