From United Poultry Concerns (UPC)
"All souls on board survived."
- Jamie London, Animal Place, Sept. 5, 2013
When the big green van from Farm Sanctuary pulled into UPC's driveway late in the afternoon on Thursday, September 26 following a 9-hour drive from Watkins Glen, NY, I flew out to the yard to meet our 50 new chicken sanctuary residents and their driver, Mario.
These chickens, who began their lives in an industrial breeding facility and who were then moved, inside their eggs, to an industrial hatchery followed by 6 months in wire “pullet” cages followed by their transfer to “egg-layer” battery cages, and who were now set to be gassed to death at the “old age” of a year and a half– they are among the 3000 hens who escaped the culminating cruelty, thanks to Animal Place sanctuary in Grass Valley, California. For more about the Animal Place Rescue, see The Hens Have Arrived Safely 5 September 2013.
For the 50 hens who arrived here on September 26 loaded in five transport crates, this was their final Freedom Stop, which began with a chartered flight from California to New York and from New York to Machipongo, Virginia.
As Mario opened the van doors and proceeded to carry each hen-filled crate carefully into our sanctuary yard and set it gently on the ground, I thought to myself, “a moon landing is nothing compared to this moment.”
Every hen arrived safe and sound, alive and well. When we opened the latch at the top of each crate, the hens leaped out, dazed, but ready to go! Very thirsty after their 9-hour trip, they all drank water together, as meanwhile our 3 roosters, Benjamin, Ivan, Lorenzo and their 17 hens who share this particular enclosure each night, watched the astonishing scene. To this day, the “Animal Place” hens have fit into our various sanctuary groups with perfect camaraderie.
My sanctuary assistant, Holly Wills, echoes my feeling each time I go outside and behold these precious angels alight in their new home, “I can’t believe how sweet and friendly they are after all they’ve been through!”
The day before they arrived, I drove across the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel Bridge to bring back a group of 5 hens from a laboratory, and the last photo you will see in this slideshow is the picture I took of these hens on their first night here, perched on their “dog box” under the stars, out of the cage.