Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Article about keeping rescue hens - one of the vegan dilemmas

This issue gets raised reasonably regularly.  Here is how one vegan answered critics about keeping rescued hens.

I agree with the response given to the criticism. In addition, while we might all like to allow others to live as 'naturally' as possible we are constrained by laws and regulations specific to keeping animals, birds and reptiles. If I don't for example have a microchipped cat or dog here in Melbourne I can't register him or her. Should that animal get picked up by the council rangers he or she is under threat of being put down, so the difficulty is the risk to the animal.

It's a bit of a Catch 22 problem in many ways. On the matter of Care2 I have noticed there is a very active bunch of trolls on that site who destroy any opportunity for objective and intelligent discussion about veganism or vegetarianism.

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Thanks for posting this, Kerry. I agree with the response as well, and what you've said above. I've not heard criticism of humans living with rescued hens before. Any idea what 'bill of animal rights' the questioner was referring to?

Thanks Carolyn.  No I have no idea what bill the questioner was referring to, but suspect they don't understand the issues.  I haven't seen anything in any proposed bill of rights that would make Guardianship of rescued animals contrary to the intent of the document.

I also know that there is a very active group of trolls on Care2 who go after any article advocating animal rights, veganism and so on. What happened here over the horses issue was tame compared to how vitriolic they get on that site.  It's a shame, as it completely destroys the opportunity for intelligent discussion of the issues.  This person I think posted there and may have been influenced by that group.

This was a reply on Linkedin to the article that I think deserves being posted here.

Humans have bred farmed animals such as Robert's rescued hens into existence in the first place. Therefore I believe we have a duty to care for those animals who we can rescue and offer sanctuary to. Appropriate rescue environments for hens need to replicate their original Jungle habitat to the best of our ability to do so; these environments should aim to provide them with facilities to exercise their species specific behaviours such as foraging and dustbathing. Appropriate environments must also offer protection from predators. That entails a certain degree of confinement and caretaking such as locking them in at night. Our domestication has also deprived them of their natural state of health. Rescued egg laying hens, for example, are prone to a variety of illnesses directly attributable to being used for human food. I believe it is our duty to intervene to prevent suffering, alleviate pain, and even to provide a humane death if recovery is not possible.

Most farmed animals in rescue situations have suffered trauma. One of the most significant aspects of trauma recovery is the safety provided in relationship. Therefore, a respectful, caring interspecies relationship is an essential aspect of rescue work.

Most farmed animals in sanctuary setting seek out interspecies relationships. Hens are particularly sociable beings. The fact that these interactions are extremely pleasurable and enlightening in no way makes them exploitative. On the contrary, such interactions foster insight into the sentience, individuality, personality and cognition of other animals which in turn can be used to educate humans about our moral duty to them.

Until all animals are liberated from human exploitation there is a need for people who offer sanctuary. We need to educate so that animals are no longer bred for human purpose, rather than construe exploitative situations where they do not exist.

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