PETA takes on Aztar ‘chicks’

Jun 24, 2002 10:07 PM

Tic-tac-toe is fine with PETA. It’s the chickens that aren’t.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has alleged that the "Chicken Challenge" at Aztar’s casinos mistreats the chickens.

"Some callers are concerned about the poor quality of life for the chickens kept in the tiny boxes," PETA representative Amy Rhodes told the Evansville (Ind.) Courier & Press. "Others are irritated about the message of disrespect conveyed by the game, and still others are outraged by both."

The game made its debut June 1 at Casino Aztar in Evansville and is being played in sister properties at Las Vegas (Tropicana Hotel) and Atlantic City.

The Challenge features a hen playing against gamblers in a game of tic-tac-toe. Casino Âí­Aztar spokesperson Pam Martin said the Ohio River casino has received no local complaints about the game.

The casino said it uses 15 hens in the game, with a new chicken placed in the game on an hourly basis.

"All the chickens are kept in a temperature-controlled smoke-free environment where they are regularly cared for and fed," Martin said. "I think it’s a considerate environment for any animal. It’s a much better life than some chickens are subjected to."

The hens are obtained from a farm operated in Springdale, Ark. The farm, operated by Bunky Boger, trains animals for circus acts and other entertainment purposes.

"I did not see anything in any way cruel," said Vicki Kavanaugh, director of Evansville Animal Care and Control.