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Rescued Hens Take Epic Flight to Freedom

Rescued Hens Take Epic Flight to Freedom

In an unprecedented adventure, 1,150 rescued hens were flown across the country in a private jet from California to New York where they’ll be taken in by nine rescues and sanctuaries that will offer them permanent homes or adopt them out as pets.

The hens, who were initially rescued by the California-based farm animal rescue Animal Place, were flown from Hayward, CA, to Elmira, NY, and arrived safely early on Thursday morning after what is believed to be the first all-chicken transcontinental flight ever.

“This is the first time adult birds have ever been flown across the country,” said Kim Sturla, executive director of Animal Place. “A generous donor offered to fly the hens across the country and we jumped at the opportunity.”

This group of two-year-old hens were part of a larger rescue operation conducted by Animal Place at the end of July, when the organization took in 3,000 who were surrendered by an anonymous egg producer who had received an information packet about rescue efforts.

Marji Beach, Animal Place’s education director, told the Sacramento Bee that about 12,000 hens have been placed since they began asking farmers to let them go into rescue instead of slaughtering them.

Before being liberated, all of these hens had spent their entire lives in battery cages so small they couldn’t move or stretch their wings. They also had severely overgrown toes and were debeaked some so badly that part of their tongue had been removed.

Too spent to produce eggs and too lean to be slaughtered for meat, these ladies were scheduled to be gassed and thrown in a landfill like trash, which is a common practice in the egg industry for hens who pass peak production and are no longer of any value.

Thanks to the efforts of Animal Place and numerous organizations in the rescue community, they’ll all be getting a second chance at life and will be able to live out their remaining years enjoying the feel of the earth under their feet and the sun on their backs.

“These hens have been through so much,” said Jamie London, Animal Care director, who accompanied them on their flight. “And like dogs saved from puppy mills, these hens have been liberated from a life of misery and will enjoy the rest of their lives in peace.”

The nine organizations taking in hens on the East Coast include Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, Inc., United Poultry Concerns, SASHA, Lollypop Farm – Humane Society of Greater Rochester, VINE and Coming Home Animal Sanctuary.

Those who remain in California will be available for adoption through Animal Place.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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8:54AM PST on Nov 11, 2013

Thanks for the heart warming story.

7:59PM PST on Nov 10, 2013

I hope all chicken farmers who put the chickens through this hell experience the same torture. Cut their tongues off and cram them into cages the size of a postage stamp. Then throw them into wood chippers after they experience enough pain. Agribusiness is full of sadistic demons.

10:32PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

I had some Araucana, Leghorns and Road island Reds. They weren't ugly but they were nothing special. What was special was the eggs were blue, green, pink, white and brown. Some were speckled. Easter eggs all the time!

7:58PM PDT on Oct 2, 2013

There are many kinds of chickens. The most beautiful being gamecocks. Breed them, don't fight them.

6:06PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

So wonderful for them. they r lovely.

9:00AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

You can read about part two of this rescue -- the hens' arrival at Farm Sanctuary -- in detail at!

5:10PM PDT on Sep 15, 2013


3:59AM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

3:09AM PDT on Sep 13, 2013

These hens will be very thankfully for their rescuers. Living now in freedom and can move.

6:55PM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

Great rescue.

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