Walk for Farm Animals: Butterscotch the chicken

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Walk for Farm Animals: Butterscotch the chicken

Since Liberation BC’s 7th annual Walk for Farm Animals to benefit Farm Sanctuary is coming up on October 5th–just a bit more than 2 weeks!–we’re introducing you to a few of the some of the approximately 900 animals who live at Farm Sanctuary’s three shelters.  Are you ready for the Walk?  It’s time to register and start fundraising!

This is part of a series of farm animal stories on our blog.

Butterscotch arrived at our New York Shelter with a swollen mass on her face, which had destroyed her left eye. She had one good eye left, however, and with it she saw something for the very first time: sunshine. (link)


Butterscotch (Photo: Farm Sanctuary)

Butterscotch was one of 200 hens who were rescued from a battery-cage egg farm in 2013.  The farm, unable to pay for mandatory legal upgrades, had opted to sell all their hens to a processing plant to make up for financial loss.  Hours before the hens were slated to go to slaughter, Farm Sanctuary was able to take 200 of them.

All of the birds had horribly overgrown toenails and were crawling with mites. Most had pale, limp combs, and all were very stressed. We saw some cases of prolapsed oviducts and of vents so stretched out from excessive egg laying that the resulting incontinence had given the hens urine-scald. Like Butterscotch, many other hens had eye infections; some were even missing eyes…Many of the hens had distended, fluid-filled abdomens from egg yolk peritonitis. We drained nearly 20 ounces from the belly of one hen…another hen, Peppermint, was afflicted with egg impaction too severe for treatment to make a difference, making euthanasia the only humane option. Peppermint probably suffered unnoticed for months as egg after egg became lodged in her reproductive system. (link)

Hens in the egg industry–whether conventional, free-range, or organic–are slaughtered at a fraction of their natural lifespan.  Bred to lay far more eggs than they are meant to, the birds wear out and are considered “spent” at only a year or a year-and-a-half old.  After being confined for the entirety of their short lives in cages so small that they cannot even spread one wing, egg-laying hens are sent to slaughter for pet food, soups, pot pies, and other low-grade meat that hides the bruises on their bodies.  The turnover for egg-laying hens is so high, however, that many are simply killed on the farm and discarded.    (Even free-range and organic hens are not exempt from most of the problems that plague their battery-caged sisters.)

battery cages

98% of Canada's egg-laying hens live in battery cages. (Photo: Farm Sanctuary)

Compared to so many, Butterscotch is lucky.  The mass on her eye was diagnosed as a tumour and removed, and Farm Sanctuary is waiting to find out whether it is cancer.  In the meantime, she rests and recovers at her new home.  Several of the rescued hens were found to have cancer, and though they cannot be cured, medication is being administered in order to slow the growth of the disease and to reduce pain.  The same will be done for Butterscotch if indeed she does have cancer.

For the first several nights, the hens slept piled on each other, not yet realizing that is was possible, or would feel good, to spread out. Slowly, however, they are discovering the joys of space. They stretch their wings with a few experimental flaps. In the coming days and weeks, they will learn to perch, roost in nesting boxes, scavenge for insects, and run. (link)

Liberation BC is proud to support Farm Sanctuary by participating in the annual Walk for Farm Animals.  Won’t you join us?

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