What will you do to help the fellas this Roosday? Living vegan is the best place to start, since it’s humans’ desire for the eggs that belong to their mothers and sisters which necessitates the birth (and ultimately death) of so many “useless” and consequently unwanted roosters.
After more than a week of the dreariest weather imaginable, the chickens are really enjoying this sunny Saturday!
Henrietta care expenses, total to date: $7,451.26
NC State vet school diagnostics, March 1, 2016: $1,743.32
NCSU vet school first surgery, April 9, 2016: $3,038.95
Dr. Mozzachio boarding & care invoice, April 28, 2016: $1,500
NC State vet school deposit for second surgery: $1,000
Leg sleeve payment – work to date as of April 25, 2016: $168.99
Humane Myth vs. Cruel Realty
All use of animals, for whatever human ends, is wrong and exploitative. Whether those animals are on a factory farm or in someone’s backyard, in a medical laboratory or in a zoo, the treatment and living conditions of the animals change nothing about the inherent exploitation of the situation. In the case of agriculture, so-called “humane” animal products entail many of the same practices that are used on large-scale industrial farms: for example, conducting procedures like castration, de-beaking, and disbudding of horns without anesthesia; premature slaughter of animals based on productivity and market value, not natural lifespan; withholding medical treatment because of costs and the low value of farmed animals; and transport to and “processing” in the same slaughterhouses used for factory-farmed animals.
But, to repeat, these methods of treatment and living conditions are not what determines whether using animals is right or wrong. They are only symptomatic of the underlying problem: that viewing animals as means to ends, as commodities, will always and inevitably create instances of exploitation. There is no escaping that.
Many people focusing on factory farming as the REAL problem, but factory farming simply takes to the extreme (and sickly logical) conclusion the underlying belief that non-human animals are human “property” (hence the word livestock) to be used for whatever purposes we deem acceptable and necessary. This means that, even if factory farming was stopped today, the exploitation of animals and their unnecessary suffering would continue, indefinitely, until humans stopped all forms of use.
We most often encounter the humane myth when it comes to eggs. People tend to see eggs as benign foodstuffs that chickens “just lay anyway,” so eating them is no big deal.
The sad reality is that the biology of modern chicken egg production is a case study in domestication’s damaging effects on living beings. The victimization of hens begins before they are born and is carried in their bodies until death. All for the sake of human consumption of eggs, these wonderful beings have been manipulated to lay at such frightening rates that their bodies are virtually ticking time bombs. The wild ancestors of modern chickens lay 12-15 eggs per year, solely for reproduction. The hens whose eggs we steal lay between 250-300 annually, and typically live for only a few years before they die. This absurd laying rate takes such a toll on their bodies that it causes, directly or indirectly, a whole host of devastating health problems: cancer, egg yolk peritonitis, impacted oviducts, osteoporosis and other bone conditions, and many more.
Whether a hen is in a battery cage, on a “free-range” farm, or in a backyard flock, the biology is the same…the exploitation is unchanged.
Backyard and other so-called “humane” eggs are not a step in the “right” direction, or a “better alternative” to factory-farmed eggs. There is no such thing as an ethical egg.
The only better alternative for the animals is to go vegan.
(Pictured above: Bibi, the amazing little hen. Read her story at http://trianglechanceforall.org/residents.)
There are variety of ways in which people misunderstand and mistreat potbelly pigs.
One of the biggest problems is the myth of the “teacup” pig. Scammers sell piglets, promising that they will stay tiny. A few months and many pounds later, the teacup has long since been broken and a much bigger pig is suddenly a problem. Potbelly pigs are surrendered to shelters all the time because they become too big and too much to handle for people who did not do their research about the realities of so-called “teacup” pigs. This is the exact story of Lola, the potbelly whom TCA rescued in March 2014 and then placed at PIGS Animal Sanctuary in West Virginia.
Another common occurrence is improper fencing. Pigs are strong and can use their mass to move barriers, and their snouts are perfect for digging under and prying up weak fencing. Especially when a female is in heat or a male smells a female in heat nearby, fences are more like speed bumps if not secured properly. We believe that Mott escaped from a fence before he was picked up as a stray. And of course he was not neutered.
Even worse, perhaps, is improper and over feeding. People seem to get a kick out of feeding pigs all sorts of things from their table, as well as dog food and other types of food that are far more rich than pigs actually need. As a result, you frequently see potbelly pigs who are dangerously obese, with their eyes nearly hidden and their bellies dragging on the ground. Cordelia arrived to TCA in this sort of condition. With proper mini-pig food and monitoring of how much she was eating, she lost quite a bit of weight and is so much healthier now. You also see this situation with a stray pig who is in need of a home currently at the Durham County shelter (click here more details).
Piglets are undeniably cute, and pigs have remarkable personalities that many people find irresistible. However, it is absolutely essential to provide them with the proper food, enclosures, and medical care to keep them happy, as well as plenty of enrichment and socialization to keep them stimulated. Naps and belly rubs are wonderful too!
For more information, please read these resources from our very own mobile pig vet, Dr. Kristie Mozzachio!
* Potbellied Pig Basics for Owners: https://trianglechanceforall.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/dr-mozzachio-potbellied-pig-basics-for-owners.pdf
* Minipig Body Condition Score Chart: https://trianglechanceforall.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/minipig-body-condition-score-chart.pdf
“What do you do with the eggs?”
In case you might have missed it, we feed all of the eggs laid here at Triangle Chance for All–by the chickens and by Nemea the duck–back to the birds.
Typically we collect the eggs, boil them, mash them up with healthy extras like coconut oil, red raspberry leaf, and ground flax seed, and we make bedtime snacks for everyone with the eggs and fresh greens and fruit (sometimes we just break them on the ground, raw). Everyone has come to expect their evening treat plate…and they let you know if you are late!
By feeding the eggs back to the birds who laid them, we hope in part to return some of the vital nutrients that were pulled from their bodies to make the eggs…almost every day…and thus hopefully avoid some of the devastating health problems that most domesticated egg-layers face. And, of course, the birds LOVE to eat their eggs.
Along with that, we recognize that providing sanctuary to our residents means not using them or what they produce. This is a core principle of ethical veganism. Their eggs are not ours to steal, and we could never justify supporting or normalizing egg consumption by humans in any way. To do otherwise would be to place them in the same position as where we rescued them from, and that is not what sanctuary is about.
Domesticating Torture with Your Tax Dollars
The New York Times recently published a disturbing expose of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, a tax-payer-funded testing facility run the by federal government that is seeking to create bigger, better, more productive versions of farmed animals.
The NYT story is utterly horrifying in what it reveals about the callous treatment of individual animals–from hormone injections to spur growth to selective breeding for greater litter sizes to abandoning unwanted babies and allowing them to die. And much, much more. As the article states:
Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight — but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed.
Then there are the lambs. In an effort to develop “easy care” sheep that can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth, unaided, in open fields where newborns are killed by predators, harsh weather and starvation.
The reality of the situation is that these obvious tortures are not restricted to “factory” farming; they are inextricably connected to every farmed animal, no matter where they are living or how they are treated. All farmed animals grow at certain rates (like the “broiler” chickens raised for meat who are killed at six weeks old, long after they have become crippled by their own bulk), have certain numbers of babies, lay a certain number of eggs–all as a result of human manipulation–through selective breeding and more invasive genetic tinkering.
The resident hens at Triangle Chance for All are perfect examples. Each one of them will lay between 250 and 300 eggs per year, unlike her wild ancestors, who lay between 10 and 15 eggs per year. All domesticated hens are victims of their own hijacked biology, and most will die well before their time because of this. In the case of other animals, their premature deaths typically come at the hands of a human–either because their flesh is desired or their productivity (and thus their usefulness) has waned.
We can try to stave off this death, but there is only so much we can do. The only true way to stop the suffering of future generations is to go vegan and end the demand for ALL animal products, and if possible we can liberate animals from the oppression in which they live. But by going vegan, we take a huge step away from this endless torture by ending the demand for the altered, exploited bodies of the mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.
The Rooster Flock
When we started our Microsanctuary back in February of 2014, we quickly realized just how dire the situation is for roosters. We took in two roosters, Orion and Hikaru, in March and have been working since then to help as many as we can realistically accommodate.
A few other sanctuaries around the country have not only taken in multiple roosters, but have also done some amazing work with rehabilitation and integration of roosters, including Rooster Sanctuary at Danzig’s Roost, Veganism is the Next Evolution (VINE),Chicken Run Rescue, Hen Harbor, and others.
We currently have eight rooster residents (along with 16 hens), and a top priority of ours is creating a rooster-only flock to help us provide a high quality of life for our rooster residents while using our space as best we can. Most of us have been conditioned to see roosters as aggressive, dangerous, and for people who eat eggs basically “useless.” That is why most male chicks are killed at birth in hatcheries, which supply both “factory” farms and backyard chicken-keepers alike, and why those who do make it out alive often end up at shelters or are killed.
In reality, roosters are amazing beings. With great loyalty and bravery, they defend their hens, find food for their hens, and watch over dynamics of the flock. Their characteristic crows are all unique and, of course, impressive.
This picture shows Rosemary during the delicate process of integrating a new member into the rooster flock. The rooster in the foreground is actually Hikaru, mentioned above. During his convalescence indoors after foot surgery, Hikaru began to bond with some of the other roosters in our rooster-only flock. He will be joining Tolstoy, Autumn, and Salem in what is quickly becoming a tightly-knit flock of its own.
While we care for them out of love, we also provide for them out of necessity. Please consider Hikaru, Tolstoy, Autumn, and Salem, as well as our other rooster residents and of course the hens, whenever you think about eating eggs.
There is no ethical egg. Choose vegan instead.
– Justin Van Kleeck
Good Morning, Mott!
I went to let Mott outside after he spent his first night here at the Microsanctuary. Not surprisingly, he was up and waiting for me (though he crashed pretty hard last night and was sleeping soundly…and, we hope, peacefully).
As with human-human first meetings, the period of introductions and getting-to-know-you’s with new residents here is often a bit awkward, with shyness on both sides. Mott, who was described by the shelter as “shy,” is clearly uncertain about humans. We have no idea what his life was like before being picked up as a stray and staying at the shelter for days, so who knows why that is the case.
However (and this is often true as well), he is visibly interested in us; his tail wags frequently, and he frequently pauses to look up at us and take a few big sniffs of the air in our direction.
The promise of a new relationship, based entirely on respect and compassion, is always a wonderful perk to providing homes to rescued farmed animals here at the Microsanctuary.
Mott is enjoying his new surroundings so far, exploring the greenery he can nibble on and the many new smells. He is already very fond of the chickens–though they are not quite sure about him yet, though also curious. Meanwhile, we peer into his soulful, inquisitive eyes and ply him with treats, finding great peace in the knowledge that he has found sanctuary.
May all beings be happy. May all beings be free.
We have been so grateful for the support shown to us and our little hen, Guinevere, though we are realizing that many of you do not know exactly what is going on, and you may be interested.
This is her story so far:
Guinevere was happily eating, walking around, and cuddling on Sunday, September 21st. The plan was that she would soon leave quarantine to become a companion for Nutmeg at the Triangle Chance for All microsanctuary. Her caregivers, Linda and Alan, left the house to go shopping, planning to pick up raspberries for Guin, since they are her favorite treat in all the world.
When they returned, Guinevere’s right leg was four times the size of her left. She was still acting well, but this felt like an emergency. Of course, this happened on a Sunday, so the long wait for the vet’s office to open began.
Justin and Linda took Guinevere in on Monday afternoon, and Dr. Burkett diagnosed Guin as having an abscess due to what he believed to be a snake bite that probably occurred several weeks prior. Guin stayed at the vet’s overnight, with the plan that her leg would be opened and the abscess drained on Tuesday. Dr. B also planned to clean a buildup of fecal material from her vent while she was sedated.
On Tuesday, we waited to hear from the vet. He called with news very close to closing time. Again, Justin and Linda headed for the vet’s, where Dr. B told them that he had found no abscess, but instead, a great deal of inflammation. He had sent some tissue to the lab to perform a culture and find out more.
He was equally concerned about her vent. He had anticipated an easy removal of built-up fecal material, but the more he worked, the more appeared. Bits of tissue began to peel off with the fecal material, so he stopped working. He believes Guin has a neurological deficit in the area, most likely caused by the same snake bite that caused so much inflammation in her leg. This means she will likely have issues with incontinence for the rest of her life.
Dr. Burkett sent Guin home with a bandaged leg and instruction on her care, after Linda received a crash course in chicken medicating. This proved very easy, despite Guinevere’s loss of appetite and energy.
On Friday, we were instructed to remove Guin’s bandage. If her leg was blacker than before (which would mean there was more necrotic tissue), we were told bring her back in. It was, so Justin and Linda headed back to the office on Friday evening.
They were told that her leg will get worse before it gets better. At some point, the necrotic tissue will slough off, and it will take months for her to recover. They were shown how to bandage her leg and what to look for. Her weight loss was a concern, so Dr. Burkett and vet tech Rebecca demonstrated tube feeding. Guinevere came back home with bags full of medications and materials for her care.
A change in medication proved very helpful, and Guin is eating quite robustly though there are still periods of concern about her appetite. Linda and Rosemary managed their first tube feeding, which went well. Linda and Alan changed Guinevere’s bandage for the first time yesterday, and were pleasantly surprised by how well Guin took it.
All of us at Triangle Chance for All are committed to Guinny’s recovery process for the long haul. She will remain with Linda and Alan, as she knows them best, and we are doing all we can to reduce her stress.
We know this is a lot to take in, but we want all of our supporters to know that we will care for Guinevere the way we would take care of any loved one, making her quality of life our absolute top priority. She will get the best care we can possibly provide until she is healed and healthy again.
We know you will keep her and us in your thoughts, and that means so much to all of us.
If you would like to help us in caring for Guinevere during her recovery, you can contribute, or you can donate some of her medical supplies through Guinevere’s Amazon wish list.