I'm a very lucky person. I have had the opportunity to have animals in my life for my entire life. I think the only time I have not had an animal friend around me was during my first three years of college. And only then because I felt it would not be fair to them, given my crazy school schedule.
But growing up, my parents had a dog before I was born. A Benji-looking dog that went from being a skittish pound-pup who would cringe and hide from strangers to my fierce protector who guarded me from everyone but my parents. I've had dogs, cats, hamsters, mice and gerbils. I've worked at stables, vet's offices and the Miami MetroZoo.
And now, moving to North Carolina, I've been able to meet some new friends... our three chickens.
I've been around all types of animals. Parrots, snakes, deer, possums, ferrets, snakes, elephants, pot belly pigs, hedgehogs, horses, lizards, etc. You name it. And I have to tell you, our chickens have one of the best personalities of any of them. They're social. They're inquisitive. They're caring. They're funny as all hell.
That is why it pains me so greatly to think of what we do do them just to eat their flesh and eggs. They can't move, they can't extend their wings (think of living your life with your arms bound to your sides), they cut off their beaks without anesthesia, they grind the male chicks up alive right after birth. They have no "use" for them... why keep them?
Colleen from CompassionateCooks.com does a great podcast (found on iTunes too) and she did this episode with a short story reading about a rescued hen. It was sad but sweet and worth listening too. Click here to hear it - it will take a minute or two to load. And if you like it, check it out on iTunes or on her site here. I'm still working my way through them all.
This is my Meg -
She's not a factory farm rescue but she is a rescued chicken. When we first got her and Gertie and Napoleon we thought it would be fun. We do eat their eggs. But we don't keep them for their eggs. And when they stop laying we will not kill them or eat them. We would have done that even before we became vegetarian/vegan. I would no more kill and eat our pups and kitties.
I just don't eat my friends.
And they are my friends. We do have a symbiotic relationship. They are fun to be around. They've educated us. They eat our veggie scraps like melon rinds and extra rice and bread (although they do get veggies and fruit just for them every day) and take care of a lot of bugs.
That's the kind of partnership I feel comfortable with. Not I use you then kill and eat you.