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.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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