At the end of February an anonymous tip lead authorities to the discovery of nearly 50,000 egg-laying hens who had been left for dead at a farm in Stanislaus County, Calif., that was rented by A&L Poultry.
Officials estimated they had been left without food or water for over two weeks. About one a third of the hens had already died of starvation by the time they were found and thousands more had to be euthanized upon discovery because they were in such bad shape.
Fortunately, kind rescuers from Animal Place, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary and Farm Sanctuary stepped in to save almost 4,500 of the hens and took on the daunting task of providing emergency care, cleaning them up and nursing them back to health in what was the largest farm animal rescue in the state’s history.
The three groups have filed a complaint in the Stanislaus County Superior Court against A&L Poultry’s owners Andy Keung Cheung and Lien Diep claiming that they violated California’s anti-cruelty laws and that the “violations were intentional, malicious and willful or, at the very least, grossly negligent. Those who abuse animals and cause animal suffering, like defendants, should be held responsible for the costs of caring for and rehabilitating the animals they have harmed.”
“We can’t begin to imagine what these poor animals suffered as a result of the defendants’ reckless disregard for their welfare,” said Bruce Friedrich, Farm Sanctuary’s senior director for strategic initiatives. “No remedy is severe enough, but at the very least they should be held fully accountable by the courts.”
According to the groups, the owners breached their legal duty to provide care for the birds, which caused needless suffering and a slow death from starvation. Meanwhile, they were left to cover all of the costs incurred in the rescue, which have totaled over $25,000 and are continuing to grow, according to the Courthouse News Service.
Hopefully the rescue organizations win this one, not only for for the hens who suffered immeasurably before they were saved and the ones who died slow agonizing deaths, but for rescuers everywhere who are left to clean up and pay for the irresponsibility and apathy of others simply because they can’t not care.
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