Tag Archives: South Africa

The sixth deadly sin committed while living unconciously – supporting the egg industry

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Running a Chicken Rescue organisation this is a topic close to my heart. I have rescued many ex battery hens, and I have witnesses first hand over and over again the abhorrent nature of this industry.  An industry that uses and abuses these noble birds in conditions which are wholly inadequate to meet even some of their basic needs, and spits them out to meet a grim end.

The majority of eggs sold in the supermarkets and smaller retail outlets are bought for re sale from factory farming outlets called battery farms. The hens in battery would have been brought up in large overcrowded hatcheries and put into cages with a wire floor space no bigger than an A4 piece of paper for the next year of their lives from laying age (approximately 5 months).  They would have shared this space with 2 to 3 other hens. No grass, no sun, no sky, no dust to dust bath in, no space to exercise or spread their wings. At day 1 they would have had a portion of their beaks seared off with a burning hot blade to eliminate pecking and bullying each other in overcrowded, stressful conditions – no pain meds, after damage care, or anaesthetic.  After a year of egg production under trying conditions, theses hens are sold for pets mince, composite chicken products (chicken nuggets or burgers) or informal slaughter in poorer communities. The final clearing of the battery houses and transportation to their final destination is a callous affair, leaving bruised and broken bodies.

In a medium to small type enterprise, you can have up to 100 000 hens confined. The processing of these numbers leaves little room for compassion or care.

Battery
 

Buying and eating eggs from a battery facility is an absolute ‘no no’. It is an unhealthy practice for both you and the chicken.

So what about free range? The free range egg industry is a minefield to negotiate, as the term ‘free range’ can often refer to barn raised hens. Large warehouse type facilities where the hens can walk around inside, but are still denied natural light, a place to dustbath, grass etc, but also fall victim to massive overcrowding. They still would have had their beaks seared, they will still be cleared out after a year to a year and a half, and they are still disposed of in gruesome ways. Free Range can also mean they have access to an outside area, but again the conditions are crowded, and they are certainly not living in meadow type conditions, Often concrete flooring for easy control of hygiene levels.

I have to stress, the egg industry ONLY makes financial sense in large numbers. There is not a great mark up on eggs, and therefore limiting your financial input  while gleaning as much as you can out of your hens, becomes the target. Once this happens, corners are cut, and your hens become products, not sentient beings with emotional, physiological and psychological needs to fill.

So, is free range better than battery? Yes, it is. Is free range devoid of cruelty? Absolutely not. What is the solution? In my books, its simple – cut eggs out of your diet, then I can ensure I am not buying into this cruelty. If you still feel you need eggs, have two or three of your own rescue laying hens (if you can provide them with what they need), or investigate your local small farm set ups. However, I can tell you, that to date, I have still not found a local producer in South Africa, where all cruelty is eliminated. There are substantially better set ups than others, but nothing I would choose to support.

Rachel day 1 - This is generally what an ex battery hen looks like when we receive them. Abused, a little featherless, damaged feathers, skin tears, often sick, sore feet, long nails, whitish comb, and grey around the eyes, droopy comb - the list continues
Rachel day 1 – This is generally what an ex battery hen looks like when we receive them. Abused, a little featherless, damaged feathers, skin tears, often sick, sore feet, long nails, whitish comb, and grey around the eyes, droopy comb – the list continues
Rachel recovered
Rachel recovered – 6 months later

Read some of our other posts, we have posted a lot on this subject over the years.

The fourth deadly sin committed while living unconsciously – buying down/ feather products

http://www.prettybabycostumes.com/pretty-baby-feather-fans.htm
http://www.prettybabycostumes.com/pretty-baby-feather-fans.htm

So our 4th deadly sin is buying

  • Down duvets
  • Down pillows
  • Down clothing
  • Feather trim
  • Feather boas
  • Feather angel wings
  • Feather accessories
  • Feather dusters

These items are not made from down or feathers collected in the malting season or a byproduct of meat production, as the industry would have you believe. This is a cruel and disgusting industry all on its own. Described below is an excerpt from Peta’s website on the harvesting of down.

‘The coldhearted and cruel down industry often plucks geese alive in order to get their down— the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin. These feathers are used to produce clothing and comforters, but for geese, the down industry’s methods are anything but comfortable.

Undercover video footage shows employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror. The frightened animals are often squeezed upside down between workers’ knees during the painful procedure—in one instance, an investigator photographed a worker who was sitting on a goose’s neck in order to prevent her from escaping.

Live plucking causes birds considerable pain and distress. Once their feathers are ripped out, many of the birds, paralyzed with fear, are left with gaping wounds—some even die as a result of the procedure. Workers often sew the birds’ skin back together without using any anesthetics.

That’s not all—buying down can also support the cruelty of the foie gras and meat industries because many farmers who raise birds for food make an extra profit by selling their feathers as well. At the slaughterhouse, many of these birds are improperly stunned, which means that they are still conscious when their throats are cut and they are dumped into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tank.’

The descriptor above is quoted from PETA – follow link for video footage http://www.peta.org/features/down-investigation/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/883/993/634/hungary-stop-plucking-live-birds-for-their-feathers-for-down-products/
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/883/993/634/hungary-stop-plucking-live-birds-for-their-feathers-for-down-products/

This is the one area, you absolutely cannot justify supporting! We have advanced synthetics and cotton available to us that are hypo allergenic, cooler (or warmer if you prefer), and easy to wash, and in most cases, kinder on the wallet. Your genuine feather feather duster has an effective synthetic substitute. As for feathers as a fashion accessory (earrings, feather boa, feather trim, angel wings)? The market is flooded with fashion items at affordable prices. Feathers belong on live happy healthy birds, not on your body!

Don’t perpetuate this cruelty by buying feather and down products.

Thank you thank you thank you for you contribution to this important awareness campaign

Our first broiler rescued a few years ago (genetically modified meat chicken). His name was Bello and he grew to 8.5 kgs in an alarmingly short time, eventually no longer able to support his own weight, we had to euthanase. I will never forget my first broiler heartbreak, and I could not have predicted how many times my heart would be broken again by a dear sweet broiler. Genetically modified to go from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks, these noble birds are reduced to eating machines, experiencing the pain and discomfort of accelerated growth, and slaughtered while still babies. This is the reality of the meat industry.
Our first broiler rescued a few years ago (genetically modified meat chicken). His name was Bello and he grew to 8.5 kgs in an alarmingly short time, eventually no longer able to support his own weight, we had to euthanase. I will never forget my first broiler heartbreak, and I could not have predicted how many times my heart would be broken again by a dear sweet broiler. Genetically modified to go from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks, these noble birds are reduced to eating machines, experiencing the pain and discomfort of accelerated growth, and slaughtered while still babies. This is the reality of the meat industry.
Almost a month ago we launched our ‘month of glorification of the chicken’ in honour of world animal day. We asked you, our community, to answer some questions for us on life with chickens and share your stories, and photos. What fabulous submissions we have had. An outpouring of love and an important documentation of the intelligence and depth of feeling chickens are capable of given the opportunity. I have delighted in reading every submission we have received and we have had fabulous feedback from other people too.
If you have missed our posts, please give yourself a ‘feel good’ treat go and read through some of our posts. We received 29 in total. 2 shy of our 30 submission goal, and so yesterday ended our 28 days of submissions.

A BIG thank you to all those people who contributed to this worthwhile awareness campaign, and a BIG thank you to all those who read the posts and shared them.

April, Tiny, Buckeye, Bonnie Blue and Beep – a month of glorification of the chicken

beeppaints photo(14) photo(17) photo(19)

Hello my name is April.

I was a vegetarian for 20 years until I began to learn about the horrors of the egg/dairy industry, and decided to go vegan three years ago. Having chickens and realizing how they feel pain, joy, and sorrow greatly influenced my decision.

Where in the world are you?

Batavia, Ohio, USA

How many chickens do you have?

Currently four girls, three recent “rescues” that have their own secure private coop/pen, and one house chicken that I’ve had for 8.5 yrs. who is my heart and soul.

what are your chickens names?

My Barred Rock with cataracts is called Tiny, the red hen with one bad eye is named Buckeye, and my little grey crooked beaked girl is Bonnie Blue. My older house hen is Beep the Chicken, who has a digestive disorder. Beep has her own facebook page.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

Every morning I go out and feed the girls their treats and let them out of their coop, then I spend a good hour cuddling in bed with Beep. Beep pretty much hangs out with us all day, by the computer or in the living room. I don’t get to spend as much time with the other three during the week as I’d like because of my work schedule, but we let them free range and walk around with them to keep them safe, and they love to hang out with us in the yard on the weekend. All four girls love to be held, cuddled and pampered.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

It amazes me how each bird has his or her own personality. They are little characters.. some are sweet and loving, some boisterous and standoffish, some bold, some smarter than most household pets, some a bit silly… yet they still share similar mannerisms and love of life and the of simpler things such as having a good dust bathe and preening…

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

These birds have feelings, just as your family pet, or your child. To confine them to small filthy cages or cramped conditions to live out their life simply to provide eggs or meat to the food industry is a cruel injustice and abuse.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

When our birds see us coming, they run to us. When they see others that they do not know, they run in the other direction. My house hen Beep knows myself (Mom) and her dad. She knows Mom is the cuddler and protector and feeder, and Dad is the one she bosses around and plays with. Beep is a precocious little girl who doesn’t like other birds or even other people very much. She would never dream of being a sweetheart to anyone except her Mom. When others come around, she is completely indifferent to them, showing no interest unless there happens to be a treat involved..

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?

For cooped/penned birds, I’d say the obvious – secure housing, nest boxes/perches, fresh water, access to food, protection from elements (hot/cold weather), social interaction – either with humans or other chickens, dust bath access, love/affection/attention, occasional treats, and medical attention when needed.

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?

First and foremost, chickens need laws in place for their protection. As a vegan, I’d like to see all chickens liberated – but as a realist, I know this isn’t going to happen in the near future. Most people don’t know that chickens aren’t even protected under any humane slaughter laws that are given to pigs/cows. Egg laying chickens need access to the outdoors/sun. They need more space in their cage than a space the size of an ipad. There needs to be laws in place to protect these birds from the cruelties we impose on them, but more importantly, there needs to be a way to ENFORCE these laws.

Join our FB community ‘chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation’

Karla, age 10 years, and her chickens – a month of glorification of the chicken – post 27/30

me, when I was little, and a rescue baby chick
me, when I was little, and a rescue baby chick
My dog Bobby
My dog Bobby
life in our household. One of our baby broilers makes herself comfortable on my sisters school case one morning
life in our household. One of our baby broilers makes herself comfortable on my sisters school case one morning
me feeding our chickens
me feeding our chickens

Hello my name is Karla and I am 10 years old. I like vegetarian cooking – I like to make the food and eat it. I prefer savoury food to sweet food. When I was 3 years old I used to ask my mom for salad and pesto for breakfast. My mom runs a chicken rescue centre and I’ve learnt a lot from watching my mom.

Where in the world are you?

 Johannesburg, South Africa, Gauteng.

What are your chicken’s names?

Ivey, Buttercup rose, Irma, Lee, Abby, Georgey, Mia, Claire and Ruby.

How do you spend quality time with your chicken/ chickens?

I sit outside with them and hold them and talk to them kiss them hug them.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

How intelligent they are.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

You can’t say that chicken are weird or gross when you don’t know how wonderful they really are!!!!!

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

 I think that after you spend time with them they get to know you better so they don’t try to avoid you they come to you. I had a broiler her name was Eva and she used to avoid me, but when I went to go feed the chickens the other chickens would chase and peck her. One day I went on to the ground and sat with her and put my legs out around her in a v shape. She slowly knew that I wasn’t going to hurt her but to protect her from the other chickens.

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?

 You need to feed them and love them, care for them and you need to make sure they aren’t hurt.

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?

 Animals are living things if animals were human and we [humans] were the animals would you like to be slaughtered or be hanged or even bleed to death because that’s what humans are doing?!!!!!!

Ben, Felicity, Sophie and Flo – a month of glorification of the chicken – post 25 of 30 posts

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Hello, we are Ben and Felicity.

Ben and I have no human children (a conscious decision), but we are Mum and Dad to two dogs, two cats, two birds, two chickens, and two bee hives (we are concerned when it starts to rain allot 🙂 ) Our kids are all rescues, with the exception of our wonderful African Grey Parrot, Harry. We can’t even start to explain how much we love our animals, feathered, furry, two legged and four.

Where in the world are you?

Jukskei Park, near Fourways, Johannesburg

How many chickens do you have?

Only 2, but I hope when we have more direction in life, that we will have a few more.

Chicken names?

Sophie and Flo

How do you spend quality time with your chicken/ chickens?

My greatest pleasure is the calmness and quite joy I feel each morning when I let our girls out of their palatial home, and each evening when we watch them lazily amble back to bed. My Husband and I jostle to be the ones to greet them each morning and say goodnight each evening. Sophie love hugs, and I find a sense of calm when I hold her tight and she tucks her head into my neck and makes gentle chicken noises. She is particularly fond of my winter dressing gown, and is a bit miffed that its now too warm for me to wear it in the mornings when I give her a huge hug.

What has surprised you most about your chicken/ chickens?

Nobody could have told Ben or I that we would fall totally in love with our Girls in a matter of minutes. They started us on a new and extremely uncomfortable journey of awareness of how awful humanity is to these kind and gentle souls. We stopped eating chicken immediately and don’t miss a chance to educate others on how totally wonderful, intelligent and gentle these beautiful creatures are. Whilst I took a fair bit of teasing from my team at work in the early days, I’ve noticed that they are all very careful about what they bring for lunch these days. I keep a photographs of both of our Girls on my desk so they continue to get the picture.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

Wow, where do I start; gentle, kind; intelligent; sensitive; cheeky, brave, strong, courageous.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

We are met at the gate when we come home by the two dogs, one red cat, and two chickens. Its totally priceless. They recognize the sound of our cars.

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?

  1. Taking another pet into the family, a chicken or any other animal, requires a commitment to take care of and love each of them every single day for the rest of their lives,
  2. Secure and safe home, that is comfy and clean,
  3. Time and patience to help them settle into their new home. Socializing them with their new animal friends, and setting the boundaries with the existing family pets.
  4. Cuddles at least once a day, more if I can catch them.
  5. Watermelon.
  6. Immediate action when they start to look ill. By the time they look off, they are usually very ill.
  7. A wonderful vet, who understands Chickens, and the commitment to take them to the vet quickly when they get ill, no matter how far or how much traffic you need to deal with, and a Boss who understands you when you SMS him and say “I’m late for work, I’m taking my Hen to the vet”.
  8. A house sitter who understands the Girls, and takes as much care with them as we do (our’s takes even better care of them than we do I think)
  9. You have to be linked to Candy’s Chickens as pets not food- Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation page on Facebook.
  10. Love love love love love, and more love. You will be rewarded a million times over by your Chickens.

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?

Set the chickens free, all of them. They deserve so much better than what humanity has decided they are worth.

Felicity

Join our FB community ‘chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation’

Peter, Nadia, Marisa and their flock – a month of glorification of the chicken

Nadia 1 Nadia 2 Nadia 3 Nadia 4 Nadia 5 Nadia 6 Nadia 7

We are Peter, Nadia and Marisa

Where in the world are you?

We all live in Northcliff, Joburg, South Africa

How many chickens do you have?

We currently have 3, but have had many over the past few years. Most have them have been rescued.

What are your chickens names?

Some have been Spanish words, Afrikaans words, ex girl friends names, like Egglet and Nancy.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

Depends on their personality. Some have sat on my lap, or followed me around the garden.

Some just want to be chickens and be left alone. Nancy likes to sleep inside one of our houses, she puts herself inside every evening and goes to the coop on her own in the morning.

Sometimes I let her lie on my chest in the evening before I go to sleep. She likes sitting on my head, and flies onto my shoulder when I’m cooking.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

My Rhode Island Reds would run to the gate when they heard my car coming close to the drive way. I loved it, every day!

Also, a real free range egg, in comparison to a shop egg. They are fresh and orange and solid like a crumpet. I have never eaten a shop egg again.

How do your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

They come when I call them, and they crouch down when I approach them to pick them up.

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?

  1. They need as much space as possible, a small space drives them crazy. They need to be allowed to run around the garden too.
  2. The chickens are pets, not food.
  3. It is important to keep pets safe from other pets, so be careful what dogs you have or plan on getting in the future. Some dogs have the instinct to catch a chicken even though they are family. Like Terriers for example. I have also heard that Collies will continuously heard the chickens and they can starve to death as a result.
  4. Chickens need a sufficient amount of varied food and water every day.
  5. Chickens need both sun and shade. And cannot have just one or the other.
  6. The chickens need company, even if they behave like loners during the day. I once gave my chicken a mirror on the floor, when her friend was killed. She perked up immediately when she got a new friend.
  7. Chickens should not be kept in tiny cages and force fed, and made to lay hundreds of eggs without movement. battery hens.
  8. We don’t eat chicken, so we obviously do not agree that chickens should be fed hormones and be forced to live miserable lives until they slaughtered.
  9. If your chicken is behaving strangely you should pay attention to it, and not leave it for a long period of time. Sometimes a chicken may behave strangely, almost like depressed or lazy, and recuperate quickly.
  10. Love the chickens.

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?

FB : chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation