Surely you have eaten eggs or seen a chicken, but have you ever seen a battery-caged hen take her first steps on soil and feel the sunshine on her back for the first time in her life? This video by Edgar’s Mission, a non-profit sanctuary in Australia for rescued farm animals, will tug a few tears from your eyes whether you have previously witnessedáthis joy or not.
Battery cages not only denied these hens from expressing normal and natural behaviors – such as nest building, scratching in the dirt, dust baths and stretching their wings, but also any semblance of normalcy. How can they enjoy life when these chickens spend their entire lives living in a space that is about the size of an 8×10 piece of paper?
Thanks to the changing heart of an Australian poultry farmer these 752 hens were given a second lease on life. At their new home at Edgar’s Sanctuary, they learned to live and love a life full of what makes life worth living.
In their video, Edgar’s Mission asks shouldn’t it be normal and natural for humans to be kind? The answer to that question is a resounding yes! á Yet, in Australia alone, 11 million hens are condemned to a life far from kind or natural in small overcrowded metal cages. Worldwide, there are billions of egg-laying hens living in squalid inhumane conditions.
Fortunately, across Australia as well as in the United States and Europe there is a growing movement to shed light on these barbaric practices. The Humane Society offers a fact sheet on how to read egg cartons so that when you buy eggs you can choose to support humane poultry practices. Yes, ethical eggs cost more, but instead of thinking of it that way, think that the price of these eggs is the NORMAL price of eggs when life is respected. Thus, the cheaper price represents exploitation, abuse and suffering.
More and more people have discovered the pleasure of raising their own chickens in their own urban and suburban backyards. My family has started researching what it will take to raise our own backyard chickens, the local ordinances and how to build a chicken coop. Not everyone has the backyard space to raise chickens, or dedicated time, but you could consider neighborhood chicken coops. Now that is an idea worth clucking about!
Read more: The Risks and Benefits of Backyard Chickens