Animal Equality activists have rescued five hens from a farm containing 160,000 animals on Monday 16 September.
After entering one of the sheds via an unlocked door and without having to use any type of force, the activists removed five hens, who were later examined by a vet. One of them had to be operated on to remove a huge mass from her head resulting from an old eye infection. Another hen is currently receiving veterinary treatment but is out of danger.
These animals were being subjected to a process called a forced molt, in which through severe food restriction - including going for days without eating - and in total darkness, their bodies are shocked into a new cycle of egg-laying.
These one-and-a-half-year-old animals have spent the last eleven months trapped behind bars without being able to see the sun. They are suffering from various nutritional deficiencies and some of them also have liver damage due to the high protein content of their food which is given in order to increase the weight of their eggs.
The Animal Equality Open Rescue Team has recorded these images because we believe it is essential that society has access to what happens inside places like these so they have the ability to think about how the animals must feel.
This rescue was carried out on a farm with battery cages similar to the 'enriched cages' which will obligatory from 2012 onwards throughout the European Union. Nevertheless, on 'free-range' farms, hens are still deprived of their freedom and used as mere resources for human benefit, and finally all of them are sent to the slaughterhouse at a fraction of their natural lifespan.
In Spain, more than 47 million hens are victims of this system which exists to satisfy the demand for eggs. Eggs that we do not even need. In the UK the figure is 32 million. The same number of male chicks - their brothers - are also victims of this consumption. Often forgotten they do not even register in official statistics. On every type of farm, male chicks are killed, either ground up alive or gassed, because they do not lay eggs and they are not profitable for any other purpose.
Animal Equality rescues animals not only to help these particular individuals, but also to get society to reflect and stop seeing the other animals with which we share the planet as being at our disposal, as resources we can make a profit from.
As in all open rescues we carry out, we always come away filled with a sensation of sadness and impotence when we have to close the door and leave behind the thousands of other animals who will suffer their whole lives only to end up with their throats slit in a slaughterhouse.
We are simply unable to rescue all the animals on farms, in slaughterhouses, or laboratories. Ending this ongoing animal holocaust depends on each one of us, it depends on removing our financial support from all of it, in all its forms.
Living as vegans means we free those animals who were going to be forced to suffer and die for our demands, and builds a base of support for a world that is more equal for all, regardless of the species we belong to.
Towards the abolition of animal slavery.
Photos -- flickr.com/photos/igualdadanimal/sets/72157624970154504
Jo-Anne McArthur | weanimals.org
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