WAN Exclusive: Heroic Rescue! Animal Place Saves 1,000 Hens From Slaughter In Iowa & Flies Them To The Safety Of Their California Sanctuary

Tragically, millions of innocent animals are currently being senselessly “depopulated” by farmers wanting to reduce their “inventory” and limit their losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why, last week, Animal Place, the oldest and largest sanctuary for farmed animals in California flew into action to save the lives of 1,000 hens that were among a staggering 140,000 hens that an egg farmer in Iowa planned to gas this week.

WAN had the opportunity to speak exclusively this morning with Animal Place’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, Kim Sturla, about the remarkable rescue mission.

“We found out about the situation on Tuesday and immediately began trying to convince the farmer to let us rescue some of his hens,” Sturla told WAN, further explaining that a generous donor covered the cost of the two planes and flights that were necessary to bring the rescued hens home to Animal Place’s Grass Valley Sanctuary where they will remain temporarily.

The number of hens rescued was determined by how many hens could fit in each plane and how many could be accommodated by the Animal Place Sanctuary at this time.

While Sturla noted that Animal Place has completed close to 30 large scale hen rescues in the previous seven years, this past weekend’s “all hands-on deck” operation marked the first time the organization has flown hens in from another state.

Two Animal Place staffers even drove nearly 30 hours from California to Iowa to help coordinate the rescue with local volunteers.

The hens were living in deplorable conditions, crammed in barbaric battery cages stacked five high with 10 hens per cage. The Animal Place staff and volunteers gently removed the hens from the cages and carefully loaded them on two private planes. The precious cargo arrived safely at the airport in Truckee, California, on Saturday evening.

According to Sturla, the hens then gradually settled into two barns complete with their own stalls, shavings, straw, water, and more. Unfortunately, space is a foreign concept to the formerly-mistreated hens, so they “clump” onto each other for security because it is all they know. This could result in suffocation and other ailments.

“Someone has to separate the hens for up to an hour and a half each night,” Sturla told WAN, further noting that Animal Place needs a team to do this for up to two weeks while the hens slowly get used to going outside for the first time. “This is the most grueling and stressful part of the rescue.”

But it is all worth it, according to Sturla who told WAN that “one of the most joyful parts of the rescue is witnessing them just becoming chickens.”

The rescued hens will also have complete physicals and health checks to detect and treat them for everything from parasite infections to muscle atrophy. Many of them are learning to perch for the first time in their lives. Any hens with questionable ailments that need special attention will remain in the care of Animal Place.

Now, Animal Place is fast-tracking two groups of hens for adoption; the first will be offered to the organization’s existing adopters who are already screened. Sturla anticipates releasing between 100 and 250 of the healthy hens this week.

The next step is advertising for new adopters. Animal Place’s adoption protocol requires adopters to fill out an application and go through a screening interview. Potential adopters will be able to go to one of two temporary adoption sites to meet their new hens.

When WAN inquired how people can best help Animal Place and the rescued hens, Sturla responded with a heartfelt, “Stop eating eggs. Go Vegan!”

People are also encouraged to spread the message to help find new homes for the hens and to please make a donation HERE!

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