Susie Coston of Farm Sanctuary discusses the recent rescue of 200 hens from a factory farm. The horrific injuries, both physical and emotional, that these gentle, sentient beings have sustained are a direct result of humans believing that hens are nothing more than objects to be used. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge that they are individuals whose lives - and eggs - are their own.
This made me cry. This is what you’re supporting if you buy eggs.
I cannot believe it’s been a year since the Turlock rescue, the single largest farm animal rescue, happened. It does not seem like that long ago. I remember it was kind of a big deal on here for a couple days, and it was really awesome seeing the tumblr community get together and calling and emailing and trying to get them to release the hens. After that it was a lot of struggle, hard work, and endless hours of care for the 4,000+ lives that were able to be saved.
This is a documentary put together by an awesome friend of mine about the incident, and has footage of wonderful people I’m privileged to know and humbled by every day of my life. Listen to them talk, because they will have much more to say than I could ever type on here.
Anyway, it’s about 40 minutes or so, and I highly recommend you watch it. It covers the rescue and some other stuff as well, and it’s a definitely worth your time.
Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing success stories from the Turlock rescue to remember the one-year anniversary of our largest farmed animal rescue in California history.
Thanks to Cindy for sharing her story and these great photos:
“I learned of the Turlock rescue through Facebook. My husband and I had adopted two chickens previously from Animal Place. We were so saddened by the devastation. We volunteered one weekend at Animal Place and also volunteered for weekend doing feeding and clean up at the Sonoma Humane Society where I work, so we could help relieve you guys. I wish we could have done more.
We adopted three ladies. Unfortunately, Snowflake - a leghorn, died the next day. We tried syringe feeding and fluids but she just couldn’t pull through.
The other two girls are Scarlet and Calliope. They are thriving. They get along well with their other rescue friends. They are quite comical, enjoy attention and seem to be very happy. WE LOVE THEM!!
My husband and I have both been vegan for about a year and a half and this experience just confirms that we absolutely made the right choice.”
What are the names of your rescued birds and how are they doing?
We are blessed to have seven of the former Turlock hens living here with us today. Page, Star, Sarah, Baily, Crystal, Flarp (Kids named her) and Button are doing wonderful here and have made the Anderson family complete. Every day I go out back and just watch from a distance and observe the girls living in their own God given natural order and I still on occasion get tears in my eyes. The joy of watching their interactions with each other, and best of all, watching the many times a day that they take dust baths in the sun helped me evolve into who I am today.
Did the Turlock rescue inspire you to make any changes to your diet? Before the rescue I had been a practicing vegetarian for 9 years and never considered a vegan life style because I wasn’t fully unaware of the real darkness behind the organic free range chicken eggs or the dairy industry. This rescue blew the doors wide open in my life and I began to study all that I could and the best tool was the movie Earthlings. You see, although I was a practicing vegetarian my kids and spouse were not and I was guilty of reheating animal biased processed foods for them. Then I saw a quick post on Facebook that said “Every time you spend a dollar you decide who gets to control the world”. Well, it hit home and I made a decision not to support the harm of any animal in any way … even if it made the people around me unhappy. So around the first of the year we became a vegan almost all unprocessed home. I experienced a lot of resistance from my three children and was loosing the fight inside to spend hours in the kitchen preparing plant based unprocessed foods so I had my children watch Earthlings and after many tears shed between us two went vegan immediately and there is much peace in our home. Our 7 girls taught me to look much deeper at life and by doing that they gave me one.
Blessings to everyone involved in the rescue and know that because of each one of you change is happening. Thank you! Judith Anderson
Introducing TURLOCK, a First Spark Media production and the incredible film inside our largest rescue. It’s the 1-yr anniversary of our Turlock rescue, and we want YOU to watch, then promote our film. Please share. http://youtu.be/pPocQGjxE10
Our full-length documentary will be released this Friday, free to anyone interested in watching. We are very excited about this film, which covers Animal Place’s largest rescue…over a two-day period last year, we coordinated the rescue of 4,460 hens from a 50,000 hen egg farm. The birds had been left without food for more than two weeks. This is their story. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Beautiful Turlock lady. One of more than 4,400 hens rescued from a California egg farm by Animal Place, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, and Farm Sanctuary after the owner left them without food for over two weeks. At Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California.
While I have many gripes about the article (nay, the whole concept), it is the imagery used in the column that is the most provocative to me. A bevy of silhouettes beneath the article’s title, “Tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat: A Contest”.
Billions of sentient beings winnowed down to silhouettes and a “contest”, a game encouraging players to espouse why it’s okay to eat “meat”…while simultaneously forgetting - despite the silhouettes - that these are thinking, feeling individuals, not slabs of flesh.
In lieu of nameless, impersonal shadow figures, meet some actual cows and sheep.
This past weekend, forty volunteers came out to help give 350 of the 3,000+ rescued hens a spa day. It will take several more days to get through the rest of the flock. We cannot thank our volunteers enough. Some are long-time supporters of the sanctuary; others are new to this movement and to chickens. All of them arrive with positive energy and a drive to help the birds out.
Please enjoy the photos. They show kindness and compassion at their finest. These hens have endured so much sorrow and abuse - our volunteers and staff are the first to handle them gently with their welfare in mind.
Editor’s note: We are profiling some of the individuals who have assisted with this rescue, from volunteers to staff. They are sharing their feelings and experiences, in their own words. If you participated in this rescue and wish to share your thoughts, send them to us, along with pictures. We may edit, but the core content will remain.
Roni Seabury, owner of DaisyWares, has been a staunch volunteer with Animal Place for a few years now. She participated in the rescue and aftercare of the hens, helping for hours on Friday and working on her weekends.
I was a part of the largest rescue mission in the history of California. The owner of an egg farm in Northern California couldn’t afford to feed 50,000 hens so he simply stopped and left them in their battery cages to die. Two weeks went by until a smell was reported, and the suffering hens were discovered. 17,000 hens were already dead when authorities arrived.
Only two rescue groups, Animal Place and Harvest Home were granted permission to rescue the surviving hens. Nearly 30,000 hens were so bad off they were gassed onsite.
I’ve been asked how did I not just break down at the factory farm. We were there for a reason - get the hens out to safety, comfort, and medical attention. If I had stopped and thought about it, I would have broken down and cried.
We had to work as fast as we could. Volunteers came with trucks and vans, boxes, crates, tarps, water, chicken feed and much more. We would box up the hens, sprinkle food in their boxes and stack them up in a waiting zone until they could be loaded on to a trailer.
I remember when state and county officials told us there were only 200 hens left to take. I knew there were more than that in the warehouse but they were being gassed. It was agonizing. I didn’t want them to die. But we were only granted the hens who looked like they were going to make it.
This is the manure pit, where the droppings of more than 25,000 hens per shed land and accumulate. There is more than 6” of stinking sludge collected there.
During the catching of birds by workers, some would fall into the manure pit. Workers refused to catch the birds, leaving them to languish.
Animal Place staff member, Greg, saw these suffering hens and immediately went into action. He grabbed some coveralls and waded into the mess.
And out he came with two, then three, then fifteen dirty, bedraggled hens. He kept pulling until officials barred entry and would not allow him to rescue any more.
It is inconceivable why we were denied the ability to save the rest of the live hens in the manure pit. They were later caught by workers and gassed.
For fifteen hens, though, they were free.
The hens were rushed to Animal Place where, late in the evening, they received triage medical care.
She may be a little blurry, but one of the hens immediately nestled up to another, cleaner hen for comfort. She stood like that until it was time for her last stop.
After providing fluids, feed and water, the fifteen special needs hens went to Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary where they will live out their lives.
It is not uncommon on farms with manure pits for live hens to fall into them. They often escape when workers remove dead bodies. For the most part, these hens are never caught by workers and often get stuck in the manure and suffocate.
You can help by doing one simple thing - reduce and eliminate eggs from your diet. It will not hurt you, but it will help them.
I can’t imagine being forced to stand by and watch as hens drown in their own feces. Big damn heroes, the lot of you. Hens included.
A couple days ago, we showed you an amazing thing - one of the rescued hens seeing dirt, grass and the sun for the first time. As things have settled down a little, I wanted to share with you what most of the hens looked like when they first arrived.
She can barely hold her head up, and she has lost 50% of her body weight.
When we showed her food, she did not know what to do. It had been so long since she had eaten. This was true for many of the hens. Some had to be force-fed and given fluids to counteract the side effects of dehydration and malnourishment.
Victory! After carefully guiding this little hen to a special mash of feed, she has finally figured out what it’s for!
It is hard to convey how powerful this moment is. We had watched her sisters and friends be gassed. We had known there was a possibility many of the hens who were pulled would not survive. And we knew this hen had not eaten food in over two weeks and was at risk of losing her life.
Afterwards, we cleaned up her comb and settled her down next to another rescued hen. The hen next to her is one of the lucky 15 pulled from the manure pit by one of our staff members (their story coming soon) and taken to Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary.
♥ Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials;
♥ Margaret Atwood (especially the Mad Adam series & The Handmaid's Tale);
♥ The Hunger Games;
♥ The X-Files;
♥ (Mostly) everything Joss Whedon; and
♥ Unicorns, narwhals, time travel & zombies (not necessarily in that order).
Also, I'd rather pretend that season 6 of Lost never happened, and that Alias ended with the 2003 Superbowl episode.