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I Am Not Garbage!

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I Am Not Garbage!

From Catskill Animal Sanctuary
May 2013

May we gently suggest that if your outrage is directed at "them," it might be displaced. This barbaric behavior, this unfeeling and abominable callousness, will end only when humanity stops seeing animals as food.

In the last few months, Catskill Animal Sanctuary has accepted over 80 chickens and seven very lucky ducks. From egg-laying hens to fancy breeds, from Peking ducks to a little ball of fluff of undetermined heritage, what these birds share is that they were thrown away, literally, as if they were garbage.

First, a group of chickens was left behind when their caretaker lost his home to floods.

The second group, 20 tiny chicks, was left in an unclaimed box at the post office; the hatchery that sent them told the Washington DC post office to dispose of them however they wished. Andrea, one of the chicks in this batch, was so small she fit in the palm of my hand.

Another tiny chick arrived a few days later, an unwanted Easter present. Stuart, a duckling, was also an Easter present: an animal rehabilitator heard him crying in a dumpster, and dug him out. A second tiny duckling was unable to be saved: despite the rehabilitator's best efforts, the duckling succumbed.

Another group of newborn chicks was delivered this week from an elementary school hatching project.

And just ten minutes ago, a wonderful volunteer named Jonathan walked into the barn with two abandoned chicks. They're in grave condition, their survival uncertain.

What does it say about our culture that tiny beings - beings whose hearts beat and eyes blink just like ours, beings who crave the protective comfort of a parent just as human babies do, beings who, when allowed to do so, live each day more fully than most humans one encounters in her daily life are routinely thrown away? The recent influx of needy birds at CAS is barely a blip on the screen. Each year, the egg industry crushes, gases or suffocates 250 million newborn chicks. Why? Because they're boys, and they don't produce eggs. They're garbage to be disposed of.

May we gently suggest that if your outrage is directed at "them," it might be displaced. This barbaric behavior, this unfeeling and abominable callousness, will end only when humanity stops seeing animals as food. Please, for all the beings who draw breath from the same source as you do, begin the life-affirming journey toward veganism.