By Laurelee Blanchard
April 27, 2007
Maui Fresh Eggs, a 100,000-hen egg factory, closed a month ago. Before it closed, I made a plea to other animal advocates to adopt as many chickens as possible to save them from being needlessly killed on the final day of operation. Hens were sold in groups of four with their legs tight bound with twine, causing paralysis to some hens. Leftover hens, not sold to the public, were killed. Factory farm workers killed them by snapping their necks or burying them.
While in the neighborhood, a month after the egg factory closed, I noticed the factory’s gates were open so I proceeded to drive my car all the way inside the giant compound and check things out. As I drove in, I saw dozens upon dozens of emaciated battery hens near the sheds. They must have somehow escaped slaughter on closing day. I also saw countless dead hens lying on the ground after apparently succumbing to starvation and dehydration during the past month. Further into the compound, I located a man working in a shed and asked him whether the hens were being given food or water. He told me the hens were not being given food or water, and agreed to let me come back and retrieve the hens.
I contacted some kind-hearted vegan friends who live on farms, and they offered to help rescue and provide homes for these abandoned hens. One couple had already taken in eight hens when the factory closed.
That night, six of us went to the egg factory after dark and met up with the on-site guy. The stench inside the long, narrow sheds was overpowering and it was pitch black in there, so we used head lamps and flash lights to illuminate the hens. We were stepping on dead hens everywhere. We gathered the live hens as they were sleeping and loaded them into cat carriers. One poor bird had become stuck between some bars and died a slow, miserable death. I took a picture with my camera to show consumers of factory farmed eggs what they are contributing to.
It took hours to locate all the abandoned hens and roust them from their sleep. They screamed in terror as they were taken away. In the end, forty-six hens were saved and the manager said we got them all.
The rescued hens are now enjoying their new homes. The people who adopted them described the joy the chickens experienced as they, for the first time, felt the rain on their backs and the sun on their feathers. Liberation takes on new meaning as these gentle hens get to feel the free breezes of Maui after their cruel incarceration.
Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150