We can also look at this issue by widening our scope substantially to consider the very concept of participating in domestication. Domestication is the ongoing process of manipulating another species so that they are more usable as resources for human consumption. In factory farms, we can see this process continued even more invasively in the genetically engineered animals who grow so much and so quickly that their legs cannot support the weight of their own bodies.
We have bred farmed animals into a state of constant dependence such that their continued existence actually relies on our intervention. This is particularly relevant to backyard chickens, as they are very vulnerable to predators, including cats, snakes, foxes, and birds of prey. And if you live in an area where raising chickens is a possibility, it is quite likely that these creatures–whose right to life and survival is just as valid–will also be present. And with the staggering number of homeless animals in the world, breeding more into existence under the thin guise of locavorism is a completely unwarranted and counterproductive measure.
If you really care about chickens and have the means to support and protect them—including the cost of veterinary care, which can be considerable–consider getting involved in rescue work. Depending on where you live, traditionally farmed animals are sometimes brought into shelters most generally used for dogs and cats, and are just as much in need of being saved from the gas chamber or lethal injection.
There is no shortage of animals needing refuge and protection. Consider offering the safety of your backyard as a sanctuary to a homeless animal instead of purchasing one as a resource.
written with Christine Wells, www.GentleWorld.org
Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.