When I announced the closure of NSW Hen Rescue I was inundated with messages from supporters and I want you to know that I read and appreciated every one. It was a hard choice to make and left me feeling sad and empty. When I closed my eyes all I could see was a hen staring into the corner of a battery cage and no one was coming to get her out. Since then I have been in discussions with potential foster homes and have been trying to work out if there is a glimmer of hope for the rescue, but it was not until last night that a decision was made.
Last night Dori Kiss and I rescued 4 hens from a battery farm. It was a small rescue in memory of Jill Phipps, a British animal activist who was crushed to death under the wheels of a live export truck. The truck was carrying baby veal calves into Coventry Airport and Jill was desperate to stop it. We wanted to honour the memory of a lady who dedicated her life to animals and what better way to do it than by saving hens from certain death.
The hens were found out the back of the battery farm standing in thick mud and feces.All around us it smelled like death. The hens had no protection from predators or the elements. We were too late for one hen, she was already dead. As Dori gently picked up the hens one of the girls moved further under the building and I could see no way Dori could rescue her. However, Dori is no quitter, she wriggled down into the thick sludge and using a long stick managed to maneuver the hen near enough to pick her up. I think Jill Phipps would have been very proud of Dori at that moment.
We brought the hens back to my place where they could enjoy food and water and a thick bed of straw. They are fairly young and must have been dropped when the cages were restocked with young hens. They are malnourished as they have been without food and water for days, but they are safe.
Something happened when we rescued those 4 special girls and watched them enjoy their first moments of comfort. Just as Jill could not give up on the veal calves, we realised there was no way we could give up on the battery hens. Although at first we thought it was impossible, we have now worked out a way we can continue the rescue on a small scale from my rented garden and we are in talks with several people who may be able to foster larger numbers of hens. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and this blog for updates and ways you can help.
So what is in the future for hen rescue? This year the hen rescue will be more of a team effort than ever before. Dori Kiss has always been a part of the rescue team, but she is now coming on board alongside Sharron Woodward and I as a partner to help run the rescue. Sharron Woodward has always been a core member of the hen rescue team and I hope that we can continue to work together as she starts her new and exciting sanctuary project. In the not too distant future, Hen Rescue will start our very own sanctuary for rescued farm animals, with hens as our main focus. This is not a simple task of ‘buy a property and rescue hens’. It will take some time and money but we are determined to expand our hen rescue project to a larger scale and to include other animals.
Our aim is to educate the public about being vegan for the animals and we feel the best way to do that is by introducing people to individual animals and hopefully sparking the compassion that is in everyone’s heart.