PAWS Magazine

Issue 41, Spring 1999

The Seattle PI's troubling news for kids

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer was recently honored with a Pulitzer Prize, which is journalism’s highest honor. A recent supplement in the January 26 edition of the P-I indicates that not everyone on the newspaper’s staff aspires to such high standards.

The supplement, titled "P-I News for Kids: Raised in Washington," was aimed at young children, as well as at teachers (who were encouraged to buy multiple classroom copies at a discount).

Though prominently titled "News," the supplement gave no indication that it was anything other than rewritten press releases for the Washington state meat industry; "Raised in Washington" is the slogan for the state’s meat industry, after all.

Among the "News" that children learned in the P-I supplement was that fryer chickens live in comfortable chicken spas, that Washington cattle are "born to be prime rib," that "swine are mighty fine" (for eating), and that dozens of everyday products, from soap, to toothpaste, to cosmetics, are dependent on animal by-products.

"Every single thing that they listed as being dependent on animal by-products is something that I have had no trouble buying in an animal-friendly version," says PAWS Advocacy’s Vicki Nelson.

"It was incredibly frustrating to read," says Richard Huffman, PAWS Communications Director. "I for one don’t think of cows as being born to be prime rib. Why do we need to continue to think of animals as a commodity?"

Mike Jones, PAWS advocate, agrees. "It wasn’t that long ago that the front pages of the P-I were filled with stories of Washington children dying from eating tainted hamburgers. If this supplement were really offering news then information like this, which directly affects children, should have been discussed."

PAWS requested and was granted space on the P-I’s editorial page to respond to the supplement. Jones wrote the response, which was printed with PAWS Executive Director Kathy Kelly’s byline in the February 6 edition of the paper (reprinted below).

The entire P-I News for Kids supplement is posted in full on the P-I’s web site at www.seattlep-i.com/newsforkids/raisedinwash/. The site has a form for visitors to submit comments.



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