The Faces of "Free-Range" Farming

Uploaded by peacefulprairie on 15.11.2007

Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
100 spent hens rescued from a free range egg facility
began their lives at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
the day they were scheduled for slaughter.
When educating yourself or informing others
about the horrors of factory farming
please remember these faces
and please remember that free range farming
is not a humane alternative.
From the victim's perspective
they are exactly the same thing.
These are the Faces of "Free-Range" Farming.
All of these hens had been debeaked with no anesthetic
a painful procedure that involves cutting through bone cartilage and soft tissue.
All of them arrived with calcium depleted bones and severe feather loss
that left their bodies covered in bruises and abrasions
All of them were depleted and debilitated
by the unnaturally high rate of egg production
and by repeated cycles of forced molting
periods of up to 18 days when they had been intentionally starved
to shock their bodies into another laying cycle.
All of them came from hatcheries
where all of their brothers had been killed in infancy
simply because as roosters they could not lay eggs.
At 18 months of age, a fraction of a chicken's lifespan
these hens were considered spent,
unable to produce eggs at a fast enough rate
and they were scheduled for slaughter.
All 100 of them bore the physical and psychological scars
of an entire young life spent in the crowded confines
of a sunless, windowless, ammonia filled cement shed.
Even after weeks of sanctuary life
many are still in a constant state of terror,
still panicking at the drop of a leaf,
still cowering at the smallest noise,
as though hit by a physical blow to the body.
Some cope by huddling and staying close together.
Others try to cope by making themselves invisible,
trying to hide and escape the perceived danger the best they can,
squeezing themselves in the nearest, smallest lock,
even if the space is barely large enough to mask their faces.
Some, like this young hen, arrived completely defeated.
She had given up.
She just stood motionless in the same spot for hours,
unable or unwilling to eat, or drink, but still laying eggs,
even when she had barely enough energy to sustain her own life.
To this day, some still display stereotypic neurotic behaviours
such as head banging and compulsive feather pecking or air pecking.
Pecking at unseen imaginary targets for hours.
The vestiges of the deprived environment they endured since infancy.
Others are still too depressed and withdrawn to venture out
even after weeks of free life and genuine care.
To this day, they keep themselves tucked in and out of the way corner,
watching the great, big happening world outdoors from the inside of the barn.
These are the Faces of "Free-Range" Farming.
And as most Peaceful Prairie residents can testify
by their very presence as former victims of small family farms,
there is no such thing as humane farming on any scale.
All farming involves routine and severe physical and psychological abuse.
Painful mutilations, like debeaking, detoeing, tooth scraping, tail docking, dehorning and castration
are the norm in all farms, regardless of size and type.
So is confinement, social deprivation,
the serial rape euphemistically known as artificial insemination
and the cruel separation of mother and child.
And ultimately all farmed animals whether used for egg, milk, or flesh
are violently packed in trucks
and forced to endure a horrifying slaughter.
All these are routine farming practices
and all of the Peaceful Prairie residents were once the victims of it.
Please remember their faces
and please remember that ultimately
the value of a sentient life is not measured in its utility to others
but in its immense, irreplaceable value to the being whose life it is.
The Faces of "Free-Range" Farming was brought to you by
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary A Safe Haven For Farmed Animals
Who Have Been Given A Second Chance At Life