Hi my name is Bede Carmody. I have been involved in social justice campaigning since the beginning of 1994 after making a new year’s resolution to stop eating animals (I am now a vegan).
I left my comfortable city existence in Sydney to move to a small country village in 1999 and live hands-on with rescued and unwanted animals. In 2001 I began establishing A Poultry Place animal sanctuary.
My activism has evolved from something I did in my spare time into a full time career; having worked as a community organiser for a leading human rights organisation since 2003.
Where in the world are you?
A Poultry Place is located in Southern NSW, Australia
How many chickens do you have?
It varies. A Poultry Place has been established as a refuge for chickens, ducks geese and turkeys. Amongst the residents are ex-battery hens, broiler (meat) chickens and many roosters, most of whom have been the results of school hatching projects
How do you spend quality time with your chicken/ chickens?
While doing the chores or during spare time sitting outside enjoying the sun and a drink
What has surprised you most about your chicken/ chickens?
Many of them have come from appalling factory farm conditions where they have been abused and mistreated by humans yet they do not hold any grudges and like being around me and other humans who come to visit.
What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?
Chickens are as friendly as a cat or dog. Most visitors to A Poultry Place are surprised when a hen or turkey approaches for a hug or a pat or to even climb into an empty lap. Because for most visitors this sort of behaviour is more expected from Fido the dog or Fluffy the cat – not a bird they call dinner.
How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?
The girls at A Poultry Place can occasionally be annoying because they get under my feet and almost trip me over just as Fido the dog or Fluffy the cat can do. In some ways it’s as if they constantly want to thank me for giving them their freedom and a chance to enjoy a normal life.
In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?
Secure night quarters, clean water, fresh bedding, constant access to food, greenery, space to explore, other chicken companions, food treats such as zucchini and watermelon, shade shelter, a watchful human
If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?
Studies have shown that chickens have cognitive abilities more advanced than cats, dogs and some primates yet they are treated appallingly badly and seen as food machines to produce eggs and meat for humans. Why are they allowed to be treated so badly through practices such as de-beaking and the slaughter of millions of day-old male chicks, who are seen to be worthless because they do not lay eggs?