What’s the Point of Keeping a Hen Who Cannot Lay Eggs?

A few years ago, I adopted a hen about whom I knew very little except that a farmer did not want her anymore because she had stopped laying eggs. The rest of her past was a mystery, but clearly her life before we adopted her had not been a good one. For one thing, her physical condition was harsh. Her feathers were scant and coarse to the touch. She had been badly debeaked at some point, making it impossible for her to pick up seeds from the ground. Continue reading

Galliano: Our Little Bantam Rooster Rescue

I brought home our rescue Galliano, and for the next four weeks, he was my closest companion, following me everywhere around the house, perching on my arm or shoulder while I worked, napping peacefully on my side while watching TV, and even calling out to me from the bottom of the staircase and then climbing the stairs to find me! Continue reading

Should Vegans Have Vegan Dogs and Cats?

The question of vegan dogs and cats is one that is frequently framed in the form of the objection, But you feed your dogs and cats meat; that’s not vegan! Elsewhere it arises among vegans themselves who, by definition, seek to eliminate the use of animal products wherever possible, but who find themselves confronted with a difficult dilemma when it comes to what to feed the companion animals in their care. Continue reading

Seeing Yourself as Good Might Make You a Terrible Person

“So you’re saying if I eat a piece of chicken, I’m a bad person?” Many of us have probably heard this question or a variation of it before in discussions on the morality of eating and exploiting animals. It’s fascinating how a discussion on a societal injustice can become so quickly refocused into the feeling of being judged as a person in totality. Continue reading

A Young Mother’s Plea to Mothers Everywhere

On the day of my daughter’s birth, I marveled at the billions and billions of living souls before me whose bodies had heaved and rolled through labor. On hands and knees, my body pulsed and contracted on my bedroom floor, and I pushed my daughter out into the hands of my midwife’s assistant. I felt connected to all of the other animals in this world — human or otherwise — who had ever endured this grueling, bewildering, humbling process. It was during these early days of nurturing Melody’s life that I was hit with an acute sense of grief for dairy cows. Continue reading

Jay Quigley’s TED Talk on Overcoming Speciesism

Jay Quigley’s TED Talk provides a great primer on speciesism, a pervasive form of discrimination against animals that permeates all animal eating cultures, and shows how it fuels the socially accepted commodification and killing of billions of famed animals. He also provides hope and practical advice on how to end their suffering and bring our food choices more in alignment with our values. Continue reading

Ginger and Fred: Two Lucky Ducks!

In the first week of May, Red Door Animal Shelter notified us that they had rescued two Pekin ducks, a bonded couple, who were now in need of a permanent home. Red Door found the pair as tiny little ducklings, wandering the city streets shortly after Easter. They spent about three weeks at the shelter and were examined by the avian vets at Midwest Exotics. Continue reading

A Mother At Last

In a natural environment, chicks would spend much of their first weeks of life peeping out from under their mother’s wings, or exploring by her side, feeling nurtured and protected. But chicks raised for eggs and meat rarely know their mother’s warmth, or experience the sense of security and belonging they instinctively seek. Instead, they are hatched by the hundreds of thousands in massive industrial incubator drawers stacked ceiling to floor. Shortly thereafter, they are slaughtered. Rhonda and Popeye were luckier. Continue reading

The Chicken Chronicles Part II: From Battery Cage to Sanctuary

The poultry industry represents chickens bred for food as mentally vacuous, eviscerated organisms. Hens bred for commercial egg production are said to be suited to a caged environment, with no need for personal space or normal foraging and social activity. They are characterized as aggressive cannibals who, notwithstanding their otherwise mindless passivity and affinity for cages, cannot live together in a cage without first having a portion of their sensitive beaks burned off – otherwise, it is said, they will tear each other up. Continue reading