Helping Hens Rescue
Animal Place spearheads the rescue of 3,000 hens from a caged “egg-laying” hen farm. Flies 1,150 out to east coast sanctuaries for the first ever flight of adult birds.
From cages to homes and sanctuaries, Animal Place secured the release of 3,000 hens from a California “egg laying” hen farm. For two years, these hens have lived in cages. Now they will be free with the help of Animal Place and our partnering shelters and sanctuaries.
Over two days (July 29th, July 30th), Animal Place staff, interns, and volunteers pulled hens from their cages and transport them to our Grass Valley sanctuary where they will receive around-the-clock care. A thousand hens will go to our Rescue Ranch shelter, where they will be welcomed by 580 hens from another battery caged “egg laying” hen farm. After they are health-checked, they will be transferred to other sanctuaries, shelters, or permanent homes.
“For more than two years, these hens have only known the small space of a cage”, says Marji Beach, Animal Place Education Director, “Now free they will touch the grass, feel the sun, and stretch their wings for the first time.” The hens arrived with severely overgrown toe-nails. All had been de-beaked, in which a portion of their beak is cut off without pain relief.
In 1-2 weeks, a thousand will fly to New York to be welcomed by sanctuaries and shelters on the east coast including Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Coming Home Animal Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary, Lollypop Farm, and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.
The Sacramento SPCA, Sonoma Humane Society, and the Marin Humane Society will also be accepting hens. Sanctuaries up in Oregon and Washington will also be taking in hens, including Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary, Wildwood Farm Sanctuary, and Pasado’s Safe Haven.
The large scale of this operation has only been possible with the shelter and sanctuary community coming together to help.
Animal Place is no stranger to large-scale hen rescues. Last year, we spear-headed the rescue of 4,460 hens from Turlock, California where two farmers left 50,000 hens without food for more than two weeks. Over a year, we placed most of the hens we rescued into permanent homes through our Rescue Ranch adoption program.
Since 2010, more than 8,000 chickens – most from egg farms – have been saved and rehomed, avoiding unnecessary slaughter thanks to Animal Place’s Rescue Ranch.
The farm, which will remain confidential, reached out to us after receiving a packet of information on our Rescue Ranch program…which asks egg farmers to relinquish custody of hens instead of sending them to slaughter. To date, this is the largest farm that has agreed to release birds to our sanctuary.
While we work towards the end of farmed animal exploitation, when we can help the nonhumans already in existence, we will do so.
- Check out Today.com’s story and please share!
- MSN.com covered the story, please leave a nice comment!
- CBS San Francisco
- News10 Sacramento
- NBC New York
- The Guardian
- Christian Science Monitor
A big thank you to the generous PR firm Evolotus for helping spread the word about this incredible effort.
- Read Education Director Marji Beach’s experience at the farm
- Read some experiences had by intern and temporary animal caregiverAnna Spitzer and volunteerRoni Seabury.
You’ve got questions about why we’re flying 1,150 hens to the east coast and education director Marji Beach has answers!
Where did these hens originate?
These hens are part of a large rescue Animal Place spearheaded last month. We’re pretty stoked about this and so are the hens.
Why are you flying hens across the country?
Good question! Normally, when we rescue from egg farms, hens are placed in state. We’ll place birds within reasonable driving distance. That was the plan when we got the call from this egg farmer. We agreed to take in 2,000 hens for placement within California, Oregon, and Washington over the next 10-12 months.
We shared the news of the impending rescue with some of our generous donors. One asked if we could save more. We explained our restrictions on time, space, and staff. If only we could get hens to the east coast, we know a lot of great sanctuaries who would take some!
While it has been easy working with egg farmers in our state of California to save hens from slaughter, the same hasn’t been true in other parts of the country. Sanctuaries on the east coast and in the mid-west have always been willing to take in “spent laying” hens.
The donor made a proposal – if we could save more than 2,000 hens, they would cover the costs of flying the birds out to the east coast. What?!? While no commercial airliner will fly adult birds, we found a private company that would accommodate our request. When we reached out to the sanctuaries, the response was immense! By the end of 48-hours, we had placement for 1,000 hens!
How did you get funding to fly so many hens?
A private donor! All of the funding is being generated by one individual who wanted to save as many lives as possible. It’s why we are not asking for ANY financial assistance with the flight of the hens! (Of course, if you want to buy the remaining 2,000 hens a bag of chicken feed, we won’t say no!)
What about starving humans? Don’t you care about them?
Of course we do! Please realize a few things.
We are an animal rights organization with a mission of preventing the suffering of farmed animals. It makes sense we’d be helping chickens, one of the most exploited farmed animal species on the planet. It’s within the scope of our mission. It is the cause our donors support!
These hens were never destined for the dinner plate. Most “spent laying” hens in California are gassed and dumped at landfills and are not sold for human consumption.They are not the same type of chicken raised for meat consumption – those are 6-week-old baby birds artificially selected to grow quickly. Farmers have to pay for “spent laying” hens to be gassed – it is cheaper than paying to have them slaughtered. So remember that the millions of “spent laying” hens killed in California are dumped at landfills – we are not the ones “wasting” chickens by not sending their poor, fragile, slender bodies to be eaten by people. (Of course we wouldn’t advocate selling their bodies for consumption anyways.)
We believe access to food is a human right. We believe that ending food deserts and improving availability of affordable plant-based foods is a far better, compelling, and just solution than encouraging an increased reliance on unhealthy, unsustainable, unjust animal products. That is not the mission of our organization but it is one we support.
There are incredible social justice groups focused on improving access to affordable and healthy foods for human beings. This is great! Our focus is on the suffering of nonhumans and because we endorse a vegan lifestyle, we cannot in good conscience support the consumption or commodification of nonhumans.
Why do you care about chickens?
Why don’t you?!? Chickens are awesome! They are intelligent, understand object permanence (cats don’t), can see infrared light waves, will engage in complex acts of deception, and can form intense social bonds. In terms of cognitive abilities (which is a silly reason to justify eating someone, btw), chickens are smart, adept, quick-learning nonhumans. They are as emotional as dogs and cats, and can feel pain and suffer too. Remember, who humans “eat” and who they “pet” is an artificial, arbitrary concept. There is nothing intrinsic to a chicken that makes them “food”.
Which sanctuaries are taking in birds?
The following sanctuaries and shelters are accepting hens from this flight: Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, SASHA Farm, United Poultry Concerns, VINE Sanctuary, Lollypop Farm, and Coming Home Animal Sanctuary.
Do you have other questions not answered here?
E-mail us and we’ll answer them!