Earlier this year we conducted an interview with Jeff Rigear, an animal rights activist, who along with several colleagues documented unspeakable cruelty on several egg farms in British Columbia, Canada. Upon entering these facilities they discovered manure pits beneath the rows of battery cages. Some of these mounds of manure were almost six feet high. And half-buried in those manure pits were hens who accidentally fell into the pits after having escaped their cages or were improperly handled by farm workers. These poor birds had been physically unable to extract themselves from the awful filth and had been left there to die.
The activists reported what they saw to the British Columbia SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and provided extensive photo and video evidence. It made national and international headlines, spurred on in part by a media blitz from PETA who had also received copies of the disturbing images. Since the airing of this story, the farms in question have been decommissioned as authorities continue to investigate. No charges have been laid as of this publishing date.
However, we have learned that several of the activists rescued some of the hens they found submerged in the muck. Meghan Beattie, of Vancouver Chicken Save and Board Member of Liberation BC, recently published a photo diary of the amazing recovery these hens have made since being rescued. We wanted to share this good news with our readers. Meghan has been kind enough to share her photos and personal thoughts with Egg-Truth (please see gallery further below).
"I don't know that I can put into words what this experience was like for me and how it changed me. And I won't try. I won't describe my journey, because it's not about me, it's about these sweet girls. Their lives and new freedom. I'll let these photos tell their story. But I will share this; I have so much respect and gratitude for the humans that led this rescue and invited me to join. This is at a battery cage farm in the Fraser Valley. Our plan going in was to just get footage, but when we arrived the doors were open. The chickens that had been in the battery cages were spent and had been taken to slaughter. Battery cage barns are set up in a way that the cages are above ground - so all the feces and filth falls to the lower, bottom level. When we saw the giant back doors wide open we peaked in and saw these babies. Many were running around, probably not realizing they could walk themselves right out. But then we saw others stuck in wet pools of fecal matter. Some still alive, some not... We took all the girls that were stuck to our vehicle - 21 in total - and we were going to go back for all the others but then an alarm went off and we had to leave them behind. One of our team took all 21 back to his house in Deep Cove. A couple days later we bathed them and, slowly but surely, with vet visits, medicine and lots of love and attention, most of them got stronger and healthier. Unfortunately, some girls died on that first night, and others succumbed to their wounds and broken bodies days and weeks into their new found freedom. But this story does have a happy ending. Even though almost half of these sweet girls passed away after their rescue, they died free birds. They died a less painful and lonely death than what they would have if we hadn't gone to that barn that night. The other 11 girls are thriving and will live out their lives safe, happy and free. As all earthlings deserve to do." - Meghan Beattie