She goes on to state that the majority of backyard farmers get their chicks from the same hatcheries that large factory farms do. These are the same hatcheries that involve large-scale layer operations, and suffocate or grind alive male chicks during the sexing process (not to mention “de-beaking“ young chicks and other cruel and often deadly practices.)
This is a reminder that even for those select backyard chicken “farmers” who give adequate care to their hens (shelter, medical attention, appropriate feed, etc.) and plan to keep their chickens for the 12+ years or so that they will not be laying, there is a trail of tortured layer hens, and dead chicks in their wake…
JoNel Aleccia does a good job of beginning to open the dialogue about the reality of small scale animal operations and their ethical implications, but there is a whole lot more to the story:
The reality is that raising “local” and “home-grown” animals will never be humane or ethical, nor is it possible to supply the demand for animal products and flesh in any manner. Small-scale “hipster” farmers are simply getting a taste of what it means to treat a living, breathing animal as a product, and it appears that many don’t have the stomach for it.
If you would like to have a chicken friend, don‘t buy or breed. Adopt and give sanctuary instead of slavery to one of the thousands of chickens in need of a home.