Amazingly, this wonderful rescue effort was prompted by an unexpected call from a battery hen farmer.
“Hearing the words, ‘Can you please save my hens? I don’t want them to go to slaughter,’ coming from a one-time battery hen farmer is something I would never have thought possible,” wrote an Edgar’s Mission staff member about the rescue.
This same staff member recalled “taking a deep breath” to savor one “last gasp of fresh air” before entering the chicken shed and also to prepare “for the heart wrenching sight and smell of pitiful creatures eking out an existence in tiny wire prisons admist the dust and build-up of 18 months’ worth of excrement.”
Battery hens are considered the most poorly treated animals in the industrialized agriculture industry. They live crammed inside wire cages the size of standard computer paper with five to 10 other birds, all of who usually suffer from some form of illness or deformity because of poor living conditions, lack of veterinary care, and the inability to perform natural behaviors.
In Australia, over 11 million hens are kept in these deplorable conditions each year until they are considered “spent,” or unable to produce more eggs. Typically, a battery hen’s productive life peaks at 18 months, as Edgar’s Mission reports. Once they reach a “spent” age, they are usually killed in a gas chamber while others are sent to the meat industry for slaughter.
The majority of these chickens never get the chance to see the light of day or feel the grass beneath their feet, yet thanks to a farmer’s change of heart and the swift action of Edgar’s Mission staff, over 700 of these hens were able to be saved from a devastating future.
Today, these rescued hens are surrounded by love and are living each day to the fullest in peace and comfort.
As Edgar’s Mission reports, “Some busily scratch about in the straw as others steal away moments of sheer bliss when their dishevelled feathers catch the all too unfamiliar feeling of the sun’s rays.”
Check out the beautiful moment when these hens stepped outside for the very first time in the heartwarming video above!
Lead image source: Edgar’s Mission