Edith The Chicken Rescued From ‘Humane’ Live Poultry Market

The USDA estimates there are at least 150 live poultry markets located primarily in Northeast metropolitan areas. These marketplaces sell more than 20 million birds to consumers each year under the guise of supporting sustainable, locally raised or backyard grown poultry. They play on the sympathy of people who are looking for birds raised in a free range, organic and humane environment. Research indicates this is not the case.

Animal rights group, Free from Harm calls the marketplaces anything but humane stating, “They all subject the birds to the same miserable existence and violent death as factory farmed animals.”

On a recent visit to a Chicago live bird market, Free from Harm documented cages stacked on top of each other crowded with chickens. Most were only weeks old and wore “kill collars” around their necks as customers stopped to buy fresh chickens.

The group came face to face with the myth of sustainable poultry markets when they were called to rescue a chicken that was found in a plastic bag on a busy street near a Chicago live poultry market. She had been thrown out as if she were trash. The young chicken, now named Edith, had been the property of a man who was selling live birds out of plastic bags to people on the street.

The person who found Edith reported that all of the man’s chickens were bloody, defeathered and emaciated. “Edith too had large patches of missing feathers,” said Robert Grillo, founder of Free from Harm.

Below are excerpts from about Edith’s recovery and progress:

Miraculously, considering the ordeal that Edith had been through, she appeared to be in good health. In fact, upon arriving at our sanctuary and being placed on the ground to explore, she immediately began scratching around and dustbathing. It was her first contact with the earth, and she was ecstatic.

Edith is a Cornish Rock breed, the most popular ‘meat’ breed; these birds have been genetically modified to grow excessively fast, reaching adult size in a mere 42 days. They have unnaturally large breasts and thighs, which their outpaced skeletons can barely support, and reach ‘slaughter weight’ in their infancy, still chirping like chicks. They develop many health complications due to this breeding. The chickens people are eating are just babies, and even younger than calves and lambs when they go to slaughter.

Here’s a firsthand account of Edith’s progress:

I continually marvel at how chickens observe and sometimes follow what we do. On her third day with me, Edith comes to me when I gesture or call to her. But even more remarkable, Edith climbed her first flight of stairs to join me at the top, but only when I encouraged her to do so. On the other hand, when I did not call or gesture to her to climb the stairs, she remained below.

Once at the top of the stairs, Edith sat calmly in my lap and pulled at my buttons on my shirt and pecked at the hair on my arm. Her feathers are soft, fluffy and newly grown. She lets out little chirping sounds of contentment every so often. All of this suddenly made me aware that she is really just a baby, exploring a new world where everything, every object, is a new adventure.

I also can see how she yearns to be with others. For the first time I heard a sad call come from her in the yard where she stays temporarily on the side of the house. The vet wants to keep her separated from the other girls for a week. She immediately perks up when she sees me peer out the window at her or come out to check on her. I think she’s going to be really happy here, especially when she is allowed to be in the company of the others.

Below is the video of this smart, young bird listening to instructions and climbing up a flight of stairs.


Photo Credit: RobertGrillo


Jim Ven
Jim V12 months ago

thanks for sharing.

David V.
David V4 years ago

At least she was spared....

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you Sharon, for Sharing this!

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Ann Razumovskaya
Ann Razumovskaya4 years ago

We, people, eat animals. Well, most of us. So I think we MUST respect poor creatures, raise and kill them humanely, it's not difficult at all...

Pamela W.
Pamela W4 years ago

OMG ...... Yet another thread where the subject matter has been completely "invaded" by OFF TOPIC comments from vegans !! Nothing against you guys but there are other threads dealing with veganism - can't you PLEASE go there ????

Good news for Edith - she was one of the "lucky" ones !! These "live" markets upset me no end as those poor creatures are often mistreated before arriving there, mistreated while they are there and then ...... !!!
Thanks for the heartwarming story Sharon - hopefully Edith is now out of her "quarantine" and enjoying life with your other "girls" !!!

Mark Donners
Mark Donner4 years ago

I don't eat chicken, beef, veal, etc. And I'm doing just fine. The unnatural overpopulated human species have NO rights on this earth right to artifically raise and torture and kill billions of livestock no matter how much they try to make the worst atrocities a "status quo" for themselves.. it's completely unethical and a universal crime.. period.

Claudia Cavallo
Claudia Cavallo4 years ago

Sad and nice story at the same time, for one safe chiclen there are milions out there that live in misery the few days they are permitted to live, go vegan for ever

vicky t.
vicky T4 years ago

Good girl, little Edith!

Gail Canning
Gail C4 years ago

Selling chickens out of a plastic bag is "humane" is it? There's nothing humane about raising and eating animals. They all suffer from the moment they're born to the day they are killed for consumption and for anyone to say otherwise is sadly deluded.