A yellow truck with more than 200 white young hens bedded in straw drove into United Poultry Concerns from Pasco County, Florida on March 21, after being rescued from Cypress Foods, an egg company that declared bankruptcy in January. Thirty thousand caged hens out of 200,000 died of starvation within 12 days because nobody fed them.
Photo: Karen Davis
While most of the surviving hens were gassed to death in this horrible episode, more than 300 hens were successfully rescued to live out their lives happily at United Poultry Concerns, the Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary, Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, and Oohmahnee Farm. In addition, people in Florida and North Carolina adopted some of the lucky hens.
Those who arrived at United Poultry Concerns from Florida poured out of the truck onto the ground. They dove under bushes and shrubs, perched in trees, and sat on our six-foot fence. The next day we gathered up one hundred hens to continue their journey north to their new homes.
"It's beautiful to see these hens testing out their new world, the green world where they belong. Let nobody say these hens are 'bred for the cage.' They are full of vibrant energy-energy you feel just holding them in your arms," said United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis in our news release following the hens' arrival.
Meanwhile, investigators took photographs and rescued at least 60 of the starving hens at the Cypress Foods complexes in Georgia, where more than one million birds were abandoned. Activist Kristina Meade and her team rescued 60 birds and took photographs of legs, wings, and other body parts clinging to the bars as the birds were ripped from the cages to have their necks savagely broken-which doesn't kill them-and thrown onto dead piles while alive.
Florida rescuer P.J. McKosky of the Fund for Animals, who with two fellow rescuers drove the hens to United Poultry Concerns and supervised the Florida rescue after receiving an emergency call from UPC, tried pulling out hens from the manure pits, but after the manure reached his waist, he couldn't proceed without being sucked down into the thick slime.
"The egg industry exhibits everything horrible you can do to a living creature," McKosky told UPC. " That's why every rescue must be part of our larger goal of getting the hens out of these hellholes for good and back into the sunlight, like these amazing hens we're looking at now."
We are extremely grateful to the National Anti-Vivisection Society for providing an emergency Sanctuary Fund grant to assist with our rescue, transportation, and adoption of the Cypress hens. We also wish to thank everyone who responded to our nternet call for help. Your continuing donations are greatly appreciated!