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Rescued California Hens Move East To Sanctuaries

Courtesy of Animal Place

More than 1,000 hens rescued from a factory egg operation in California arrived via plane in New York this morning.  Four hundred of the hens are headed for two sanctuaries in the Hudson Valley region.

1,150 hens touched down in Elmira, New York. The $50,000 flight was funded by an anonymous donor. Kim Sturla is with California-based sanctuary for farmed animals Animal Place. She says the hens flown east were part of the more than 3,000 rescued from what is called a battery hen operation, an egg-laying factory.

Depopulated is a euphemism for gassed. Sturla says the man who funded the flight did so on the stipulation that Animal Place rescue an additional 1,000 hens on top of the 2,000 already planned. She says there was willingness on the part of sanctuaries across the country to take in the hens. However, the problem was and has always been transportation, as commercial flights do not accept adult birds and private transportation is too expensive.

Sturla says the hens were a bit overcome by heat during the flight, and rather than transport them to their final destinations of at least nine sanctuaries, hen handlers thought it best to take them to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York to recover. None perished. Jenny Brown is cofounder and executive director of Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. She says they are ready for 200 of the hens, which should arrive Saturday.

And, she says, there will be perches, sunshine, and access to the woods. Brown says she relishes watching the ladies taste their new lives.

Both she and Sturla explain that the hens, which were caged from the time they were hatched and de-beaked, had to be rehabilitated for about a month at Animal Place to learn how to be freer: to strengthen unused muscles, for example.

Jennifer Abbots is with Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which also will welcome 200 of the white leghorns.

She says they currently have 90 chickens, while Woodstock has about 85, 30 of which are roosters.  Here’s Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Abbots. 

She says the rescue provides an opportunity to educate the public about the factory life of caged hens and the starting point of much of the nation’s eggs. And here’s the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary’s Brown.

Some of these hens may be adopted, but do have special needs. Once recovered from their flight, the hens are headed to sanctuaries in Virginia, Ohio, elsewhere in New York, Veganism is the Next Evolution, or VINE, in Springfield, Vermont, and other locations.

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