This past weekend kindness came in the form a collaboration between Animal Place, Hercules’ Haven, Inner Light Sanctuary, several good Samaritans, and a farmer who chose a humane option of offering 1,000+ hens for rescue rather than euthanasia. I will not lie, Saturday was the toughest day of my life. You can research, watch documentaries, read books, and self-talk yourself into being prepared…but honestly nothing can prepare you for all the feelings we experienced.
Our team deployed Friday from Springville, to pick up chicken crates. We happily offered our truck and trailer to assist. The crates were flown in on chartered planes from California. We spent a sleepless night in a hotel, and woke up at 3am Saturday morning, then headed to the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).
The staff from Animal Place gave thorough instructions on how to pull hens from cages, “Pull them from the battery cages gently…they will be frightened, load them into the crates ever so delicately on their sides as to not injure wings and over grown toes, and carry them to freedom and load in the trailer, and accompanying van.”
It was still dark outside, the lighting in the CAFO was dim, the the rows of hens stacked in battery cages were 4 high. At first, I struggled just to see. Dusty, dank, and smells that are only made in nightmares. I choked down vomit, that was insisting to evacuate my body. My mask was a blessing and a hindrance. It kept the filth out but made me unable to breathe freely at times. We walked for what seemed like a mile, carrying our chicken crates down the dark isle of empty battery cages. Finally, a sign of life. We found birds who needed out.
We worked as well-oiled machines. Gently pulling chickens from battery cages, placing them in crates of freedom. Pull chickens, place in crates, load in trailer…and over and over until you were so dizzied from either your inability to breathe or simple exhaustion. This system continued until we pulled, crated, liberated, and trailered 1000+ hens.
Finally, all the lives we could save were loaded. It was time to leave and head for the airport. We left feeling conflicted. I KNOW what we did saved more lives than I could ever imagine. I weep at the lives we were forced to leave behind. Potentially, 100,000 hens had already been gassed, a few others had been rescued by other sanctuaries, and the remaining 10,000 to 15,000 will remain at the CAFO.
We were unable to save them all. What I am certain of is that we saved over 1,000 lives on Saturday. Lives who have never seen the sun, felt the cool grass between their toes, or had the liberty to spread their beautiful wings.
The four chickens that will live at the Haven will never suffer again, nor will the 1,000 now in their new home in California. Our team was honored to be a part of this amazing mission. This is what we live for…saving lives and giving a safe haven to animals to live life on their terms.
This mission was possible, first and foremost, thanks to our amazing community of supporters! Our donors and supporters help us save lives! We love you all, we appreciate you all.
If you are able, through these trying times, to help us save lives like the 1000+ we helped save, please donate. Any amount is appreciated! It all adds up and helps us feed, vet and rescue all these amazing sentient beings! Thank you all for saving 1000+ souls. We did this together!