I have some friends who raise hens in their backyards. They ask me what I think about this method for getting eggs as compared to buying from a supermarket. I say it’s better but it’s not something I’d do myself. I don’t have chickens because 1) I don’t need them, 2) buying chicks by mailorder involves a lot of cruelty and death and 3) many people do not know how to treat animals they have purchased.
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and it occurred to me that one could get hens a better way: from rescues. Many hens are rescued every year by Farm Sanctuary, Animal Place, and many other organizations. There are even some places that specialize in rescuing and then finding new homes. I am now ready to recommend this route to those who feel they must have their eggs. Generally, these organizations have gone to a lot of trouble to save these animals and will also go to some trouble to assure that they are going to the right homes.
The Battery Hen: this one’s in the UK
Chicken Run Rescue: Minnesota! Their motto: don’t breed or buy; adopt!
Rescue Chickens: a lot of info here but probably worth plowing through
Battery Hens: from ckc birds, another UK operation, mostly sells homes for rescued birds
Of course this is hardly a complete list. A good way to begin is to check local rescue operations.
For a related and not altogether the same view from Vegan Soapbox check this out.
As a vegan I can’t make a case for eating eggs, even from rescued hens. But I can see having a hen as a pet, eggs or no, given the right environment. And I can recommend to those who are not vegan that they take this one extra step to reduce cruelty in the world.