Joy’s former home
18th May 2014
Timothy is one of the many cockerels rescued and taken to Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary following a history of being the abandoned, homeless victims of backyard chicken keeping. Like other species chickens have a 50% chance of being male, although most breeders favour hens for their ability to lay eggs. In our domesticated conditions, without sufficient space to roam, groups of males will experience conflict. Their beautiful crowing is a further source of irritation to many humans, including the humans who bred them into existence. The answer is not to abandon beautiful beings like Timothy. The answer is not to breed other beings for our use. Its called respect. Its called veganism. 19th May, 2014-06-05
Chickens bathe in dust in the way that humans bathe in water. Dust bathing is not only an exercise in hygiene; like humans who enjoy baths and showers, dust bathing is a very pleasurable activity for birds. It is usually not a solitary activity, showing their highly social nature. It begins when the male finds a good spot with lots of nice, dry dust. He calls the females with gurgling, excited sounds. They all gather and socialise together in the dust bath. They use their beaks and feet to dig hollows for their bodies and then use their wings to distribute the dust throughout their feathers. The dust acts as a natural deterrent to mites and lice. When they are finished they shake the dust from their feathers. The hens in this video, Verona and Vicky, were rescued from an enriched battery cage where these kinds of dust baths are impossible.
22 May 2014
May is International Respect for Chickens month Chickens have a large range of vocalisations: meaningful utterances that serve a communicative and social role with their comrades, and with humans. When we see other animals through the lens of how they can provide for us, we miss who they are, for themselves, and for each other. Veganism is just the beginning: once we respect them, the door opens to their wonder. (Simon: an abandoned rooster, found in a field a few miles from Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary) 23 May 2014
Chickens are always busy: they roam vast areas exploring and looking for bits and pieces to eat; they socialise and chatter together; they dust bathe, sun bathe, fly short, fast distances, run, flap their wings, and shake their bodies, fall in love, mate, hatch eggs, and mind their offspring. They have their own purpose in life: and it does not include serving humans. “The other animals humans eat, use in science, hunt, trap and exploit in a variety of other ways have a life of their own that is of importance to them, apart from their utility to us. They are not only in the world, they are aware of it and also of what happens to them. And what happens to them matters to them. Each has a life that fares experientially better or worse for the one whose life it is. Like us they bring a unified, psychological presence to the world. Like us they are Somebodies, not Somethings. ” – Tom Regan, 1989. 25th May 2014
May is International Respect for Chickens Month Alice, Fitz and friends have food preferences, just like humans: they enjoy treats of spaghetti, corn, bread, and berries and one of their favourite foods is melon. Having a preference means being aware and having the capacity to enjoy the pleasurable things in life. It entails having choices and being able to make choices that best fit one’s needs and desires. It is very obvious to anyone who knows chickens that their preference is to be respected and liberated by humans. None of them willingly choose to be oppressed in the way they are when they are used for their eggs and their flesh. 26 May 2014
“Poor animals, how jealously they guard their bodies, for to us is merely an evening’s meal, but to them is life itself.” – T Casey Brennan Like all of us, chickens are embodied. The life that they treasure depends on their functioning bodies. When we use their bodies for food such as eggs and flesh, we inflict a variety of ailments on them from osteoporosis to heart disease to cancer. Even before they are slaughtered, their very bodies become places of torture. Next time you think of eggs or chicken’s flesh as harmless foods, think of how you depend on your body to feel well and grant that same right to feel well to chickens too. That is what veganism is about. 27 May 2014
The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men. – Foreword to The Dreaded Comparison: Animal Slavery and Human Slavery (1996) by Marjorie Spiegel, p. 14 (Joy and her comrades at Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary, victims of our disrespect and of our speciesist failure to include equally sentient others in our circle of justice, compassion or our moral consideration). Was the taste, convenience, or adherence to tradition of their eggs worth the harm it cost them?
31st May 2014
Who are chickens? They are individuals, as different from each other as we humans are from each other. Yet each one is sentient and aware of what is happening to him or her. Most chickens are very sociable and gregarious. But some, whist not solitary, are more independent and like to spend the day wandering a little apart from the flock. Some are very gentle, some are shy, others are uninhibited and outgoing. They have favourite friends, chosen ones with whom they range and forage, and sleep beside at night. Chickens have an enormous capacity for pleasure and they utter beautiful sounds of joy and excitement at the simple things in life, like a dust bath on a sunny day, or a discovered edible morsel. When sun bathing they have a look of intense, mindful, sensory awareness in their eyes and on their faces. They run away when frightened and call out when in pain. This is what it is to be a sentient being. Eating chickens’ eggs and their flesh precludes us from knowing who they are. Yet, even when we are blind, every individual one of them exists with conscious awareness of the lives we have bred them into. Chickens need our love and our respect. We need to stop thinking of them as food, and think of them as someone. Only then can we know them for who they are.
Respecting Chickens as Sentient Beings
- Joy, shortly after rescue
We can stop this. It costs us so little to be vegan, yet this small cost to us means everything to them. Veganism is the least we can do to create a future where other sentient beings are not bred into life by and for humans, but are born into freedom, to their parents, and into their natural ecological environment; conditions to which chickens in particular have demonstrated not only the capacity to withstand, but in which they thrive without human interference. Make every day a day of respect for other sentient beings.