Please read the following update at the bottom of the page
If you believe the latest propaganda that has come out from Animals Australia, its supporters have ‘saved’ over 100,000* battery hens from a life in a cage.
Before I mention anything about the life that these hens have been saved from, I have to say that I think it is thoroughly disgusting that Edgar’s Mission allowed one of the residents to be exploited for the sake of promoting an organisation that is opposed to veganism. The story about the hen herself is just as deplorable.
From the Animals Australia page about the hen called Little Miss Sunshine.
However, Little Miss Sunshine and I did not become personally acquainted until some months later. I was actually training another very clever ex- battery hen by the name of Marilyn Monroe. Each morning Marilyn and I would go into the kitchen to practice her repertoire of tricks in the hope that one day we could share them with the world, in an effort to show people how intelligent chickens really are. But there was one obvious barrier to Marilyn Monroe becoming the new Edgar’s Mission ambassador hen – although she tolerated me when I had food, she did not (and still does not) like me very much at all!
Whilst the Operant conditioning of pigs was apparent in the footage that was mentioned in the piece “Are Animal Activists Making Things Worse For The Animals?” it is becoming apparent that the exploitation of the residents is a common thing. Does this make the ‘sanctuary’ any better than the circuses that everyone is happy to protest against?
If conditioning the residents to perform tricks and offering them up for ‘adoption’, isn’t the ultimate betrayal of trust of the residents, I don’t know what is. So much for the place being a sanctuary.
All that aside, despite what those at Edgar’s Mission the evocative ad and email from Animals Australia would have you believe, the life of a battery cage-free layer hen isn’t much better to that of a hen in a cage.
In an environment where thousands of hens are forced to live in a single space, there are simply too many hens for a hierarchy to emerge. This results in the “pecking order” becoming a never-ending battlefield. Thus, hens used by the barn-laid industry become part of an institutionalised battle that never ends. With nowhere to shelter or hide, their life is one of attack or be attacked every single day of their lives.
Weaker birds starve, or dehydrate, just like Gemima, as they are too afraid to get food or water. The majority of the attacks occur at the feeding and water stations as the stronger birds try to assert their dominance. Their lives are a living hell.
If you want to continue to ignorantly believe that because Lyn White and a glossy TV ad tell you that life for a cage free hen is all rosy, then go for it. Make that pledge to go cage free or even donate to them if that makes you feel better about eating eggs.
Whereas if you really want to make a significant difference to the life of a layer hen, and not a token gesture, then make the decision to go vegan. If you want to make a financial contribution, find a legitimate sanctuary where the residents there have been rescued, not taken to be re-homed.
I will leave with these words from the piece about Gemima
We cannot believe how damaged Gemima and her colleagues, from a barn environment are, until we consider what life must be like trapped in a battlefield with thousands of other birds every single day of your life. Farm Animal Rescue does not advocate barn-raised eggs as a more humane option than battery cages. In fact we think it quite possible the opposite is true
*At time of writing this, the number 116,533
25 March 2014
I have been informed that some people reading this believe that it comes from Farm Animal Rescue. Let me just say that this is NOT the case.
As with all articles on this site, these are my own personal thoughts and do not represent the thoughts of any organisation that I am employed by, volunteer for, or have any connection with.
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Do not contact Farm Animal Rescue.