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Monday, August 4, 2008

New Family Members (Again) !!!

Look who arrived on Saturday! Three young rescued broiler hens from Animal Place, delivered with love by my friend Roni (DaisyWares on Etsy) - you can read Roni's account of their travels here.

I love these little peepers! They are already as big as our banty hens, but they still make peeping noises. They aren't as skittish as our other chickens, and I've been able to hold and pet them quite a bit.

I don't know all the details of their history, but I do know that a whole bunch of baby chicks (including my three) were seized and relocated to rescue facilities after a postal worker in Oakland, CA noticed several dead chicks (I'm not sure how this employee saw them - was the box open or what?) - anyways, sad to say, it's legal to ship live animals here in the US, and these girls were en route to a short and tortured life at a factory farm, where they would ultimately be slaughtered at just a few months of age to satisfy humans' cravings for chicken flesh. At least we were able to save these ones. It makes me sad to think how many more suffer and die needlessly.

This type of chicken - referred to as 'broilers' in the animal exploitation industry - is genetically manipulated to grow very large very quickly. This is so they can reach 'slaughter weight' (what an ugly term) within a couple of months. When they are permitted to live a normal life - beyond the weeks or months allowed in intensive farming - they grow so unnaturally large that they usually die from heart attacks around two or three years of age. (I'm not sure what the exact life expectancy of a non-'broiler' chicken is, but I've often heard of chickens living to be 12 or 14 years old.)

I don't mean to be a total downer - I'm so happy to have these girls happy and safe at our house - but I hope that by elaborating on their circumstances, I might cause one or two people out there to question the ethics of how food gets to our table, and maybe even ponder the considerable merits of adopting a vegan diet. Oh, and in case you're thinking free range chickens have it any easier, this is for you.

Finally - any name suggestions? We've been getting so many new animals lately, I'm running out of ideas! It's even harder in this case because I totally can't tell the three of them apart.


winterskeeper said...

1. The original Charlie's Angels:
Kelly, Kris & Sabrina

2. Amazing women in history:
Rosa, Amelia & Susan B

3. Completely shameful:
Chick, Chicka, & Boom

Vegan Girl said...

I miss my little God children!

They look like they are doing quite well. But they have a great Mommy to take care of them.