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Karen Elizabeth Davis
February 4, 1944 ~ November 4, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old
Karen Elizabeth Davis, 79, an animal-rights activist who led campaigns locally and afar to bring awareness to the plight of fowl, died Saturday, November 4, 2023, at her sanctuary for rescued chickens in Machipongo, VA. Karen was born on February 4, 1944, in Altoona, PA, a daughter to Amos and Mary (Orr) Davis. She earned a Ph.D. in English in 1987 from the University of Maryland-College Park, where she also taught. She married George Allan Cate, a professor with the university, in 1983.
Karen became an activist in the 1980s and founded United Poultry Concerns in 1990, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the compassionate and respectful treatment of chickens, turkeys, ducks and other domestic birds. She hoped to gain sympathy for the birds through her tireless campaigns for bird freedom. She raised awareness through protests, speeches, a quarterly magazine Poultry Press, books, and newspaper columns. Her career as an English professor at Maryland University served her well in those endeavors.
She moved to the Eastern Shore in 1998 and built a 12,000-square-foot outdoor aviary for rescued chickens and other birds. In 2002, she was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame “for outstanding contributions to animal liberation.”
Karen is survived by three brothers, Tim, Amos, and Andrew Davis; many friends and comrades in the fight for animal rights; and her beloved chickens at the sanctuary.
A private memorial service will be held at the sanctuary in Machipongo on Saturday, November 25, 2023.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to United Poultry Concerns, P.O. Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405 (https://www.upc-online.org/donate/).
Memory tributes may be shared with the family at www.williamsfuneralhomes.com.
Arrangements by the Williams-Onancock Funeral Home.