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Please Help “Easter” Chicks

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"Be the change you wish to see in the world" ~Mohandas Gandhi
"Our lives begin and end the day we become silent about things that matter" ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Originally Posted: March 18, 2013

Please Help “Easter” Chicks

FROM United Poultry Concerns (UPC)


If you enter a store with baby chicks for sale in a bin, please complain to the manager and urge them to stop selling chicks. If you can stick to it, tell them you will no longer shop there until they stop. Complain to the store’s headquarters, and write a letter to the editor of your local paper to educate readers about the cruelty these birds are suffering as throwaway “Easter” toys.

chick Easter chickens
Photo courtesy of The Animals Voice

Contact Agway:

323 Lockhouse Road
Westfield, MA 01085
phone (888) 658-0739
fax (888) 703-6050

Contact Tractor Supply:

Tractor Supply Company
Attn: Customer Solutions Center
200 Powell Place
Brentwood, TN 37027
phone (877) 718-6750
[email protected]


Although the 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes absurdly claimed that nonhuman animals are machines, the perception of the chick and the egg as symbols of birth and the renewal of life persists. And while the hen has been degraded to an “egg-laying machine” by egg producers in our day and age, the view of the mother hen as the essence of nurturing and protective motherhood survives in our thoughts. Was not the mother hen invoked in St. Matthew 23:37 to express the spirit of yearning and protective love, and did not the ancient Roman historian and biographer Plutarch write praisingly of the mother hen in De amore parentis [parental love]? He said:

We have before our eyes every day the manner in which hens care for their brood, drooping their wings for some to creep under, and receiving with joyous and affectionate clucks others that mount upon their backs or run up to them from every direction; and though they flee from dogs and snakes if they are frightened only for themselves, if their fright is for their children, they stand their ground and fight it out beyond their strength.

Easter still awakens in many people an awareness of baby chicks and their mothers, although sadly more archetypally than literally in our de-natured, industrialized society. The modern Easter experience is mainly of eggs detached from their maternal source, nested in cellophane straw in Easter Baskets and churned out mechanically for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll and for children’s Easter Egg Hunts.

Ironically, today’s children look for eggs that were laid by a hen imprisoned in a wire cage in a mechanized building and most baby chicks they see are in miserable batches in boxes at feed stores like Tractor Supply and Agway.

chick Easter chickensWhile the average customer passing by sees cute baby chicks, most do not recognize the suffering these birds are experiencing in being in bright lights and noise, with no place to hide or rest the way chicks would normally do, periodically throughout the day, by running under their mother hen’s wings and being comforted by her care. Any sense of a parent bird carefully tending her young is lost when chicks are hatched in a mechanical incubator and displayed as if they were inanimate objects instead of living beings with needs.

Most surviving chicks are doomed to a life expectancy of a few days or weeks spent miserably. Young chicks need nurturing and rest. They are difficult to feed in a store and can suffer from starvation and dehydration that is not even noticed by the employees or by those who buy a little chick for a child who quickly loses interest.  

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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