Archive for the ‘poultry welfare’ Category

Thoughtful Post on Slaughtering Animals for Food


My readership varies from omnivore to vegan, and I try to respect those choices in my individual clients. This post was a well-written, thoughtful reflection on those who choose to eat meat and one farming family’s respect for the creatures who provide their protein needs. Please by patient through the beginning section; the main points follow.

Endangered… Chicken Breeds


Yes, some chicken breeds are in danger of dying out. As we become an increasingly urban society and move away from food production, we’re losing genetic diversity in all of our food crops, plants and animals alike.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) focuses on protecting these heritage breeds. A chart listing rare livestock is on their site. If you are a chicken keeper, you can participate in keeping a breed alive by selectively and carefully breeding these rare chickens.

Please note that ordering these breeds from a hatcheries is not the same as actually selectively breeding the birds. ALBC offers guidelines and information for breeding heritage chickens.

Chicken Adoptions: Prairie Crossing: TIME SENSITIVE


Chicken Adoptions!

[NOTE: If you are interested in introducing chickens to an existing flock, the process is often difficult and result in dead birds, due to disease or social adjustment. Read Avian Introductions on my blog for some tips. Note also that these hens have most likely reached their max in terms of laying.]

The Prairie Crossing Learning Farm in Grayslake is seeking adoptive homes for our chickens! The current flock of pasture-raised chickens came to the Learning Farm as one-day-old chicks 2 years ago. They immediately engage farm visitors with their gentle clucking, and entertaining chicken behaviors! The chickens have provided certified organic eggs to Learning Farm customers, educational opportunities to Farm Campers and tour participants, and real farm work volunteer opportunities to our dedicated Hen House Helpers.

The reality of farm life and economics is that the Learning Farm is unable to continue to support this aging flock. During this past year, egg production has diminished significantly and we have been unable to provide enough eggs to our loyal customers. Most commercial operations maintain their flocks for only one year, but the Learning Farm committed to maintaining this flock for two years — until November of 2012.

We will offer free hens (no roosters) to adoptive homes on Saturday, November 3 from 2-4 p.m. All chicken adoptions must take place during this timeframe, so we are providing as much advance notice as possible. Please come to the farm during this timeframe to select chickens, or send someone else on your behalf. Many towns have regulations about maintaining chickens in your backyard, so please make sure you know what those are before taking home a chicken. All chicken adoptions are final, and are first come/first served. Please bring a large box or dog crate lined with newspaper to transport your chicken(s). Our address is 32400 N. Harris Road, Grayslake, IL 60030.  Please read the very bottom of our website for directions to our farm as some internet maps are incorrect – www.prairiecrossing.com/farm/learning.php.

The Learning Farm flock is composed the following varieties of heritage breed chickens:

  • Barred Rocks
  • Black Australorps
  • Buff Orpingtons
  • Rhode Island Reds

We hope to connect many backyard chicken enthusiasts with our chickens as possible. Please help us spread the word! After this chicken adoption day, the rest of the flock will be humanely butchered. We are still working through the details on when a new flock of chickens will be brought to the Learning Farm, so stay posted for more information. The Learning Farm remains committed to raising chickens for educational opportunities, production of local eggs, and meaningful volunteer experiences.

Thank you!

Erin Cummisford

Liberty Prairie Foundation

ecummisford@prairiecrossing.com

www.prairiecrossing.com/farm/learning.php

 

The Atlantic on Chicken Welfare


This article addresses the new Egg Products Inspection Act, which it later refers to as “lipstick on a pig.”

In the industrial egg factories where most of America’s eggs are laid, the newly introduced Egg Products Inspection Act would, if passed, make life easier. The bill grew from a compromise between United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States. It would mandate replacing the nation’s 280 million chicken-sized battery cages as they’re called with group cages equipped with amenities like dust baths and perches, while banning some of the cruelest practices associated with egg farming.

To learn more about supporting this act, go to the Humane Society’s webpage. 

You can read the text of the bill here. 

To nix this bill (see Scott’s comment below), go to Stop the Rotten Egg Bill (http://www.StopTheRottenEggBill.org).

Egg Scorecard from Cornucopia


Check out this great tool for egg shopping!

This goes hand-in-hand with my blog post on egg carton labels. If you want the absolute best in animal husbandry practices, try Ellis Family Farms eggs at the Oak Park Farmers Market. They are Animal Welfare Approved, which is the highest rating an egg producer can get. And eggs with that rating are not available in stores.

Rooster Found on Logan Square El Tracks Available for Adoption


A rooster was found on the el tracks in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood yesterday. He has a broken wing, and Animal Control informed me this AM that he will not be euthanized. Contact animal control if you can give this poor guy a home and get him back to health.

Here is the story.

Support Legislation in Favor of Humane Living Conditions for Laying Hens


Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens

Congress is now considering legislation (H.R. 3798) that would improve the lives of hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens in our country—and you can help! The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 would phase-in significantly more space plus environmental enrichments for these birds, as well as ban starvation molting and give consumers more information about production methods right on the egg carton (e.g., labeling “eggs from caged hens” and “eggs from cage-free hens”).

TAKE ACTION
Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative, urging co-sponsorship of the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, (H.R. 3798). Then, make a brief, polite call to your two U.S. senators to support this legislation as well. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers here.

Please also use the form below to send a follow-up note to your federal legislators urging support for H.R. 3798. We encourage you to add your own thoughts or comments about this legislation in the editable portion, so your federal legislators know how important this issue is to you personally.

Taken from the Humane Society’s website.

FACT Funding Local Farmers


Food Act Concerns Trust has a  Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project that will provide small grants, of up to $1500, to qualifying humane farmers who need assistance in improving the welfare of their farm animals. FACT will award grants for projects that (1) help farms transition to pasture-based systems, (2) improve the marketing of their humane products, or (3) more generally enrich the conditions in which farm animals are raised.

FACT’s Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project is designed to empower farmers to positively impact farm animal welfare. Farmers often want to make on-farm changes to give their animals a better life, but sometimes need financial assistance to make it happen. FACT recognizes that farmers have the technical expertise to make farms more humane, and can effectively use small grants to make these changes.

To learn more, go to the Healthy & Humane Farm Funds Project webpage. That can be found here: http://www.humanefarmfunds.org/. The application and application guidelines can be found online. Deadline for applying is April 1, 2012.

Contact:

Lisa Isenhart
Humane Farming Program Manager
Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)
773-525-4952

Chicken/migratory bird volunteers wanted


I volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, whose main purpose is rescuing migratory birds that crash into glass windows in the Loop (see my post from September of 2010). Occasionally we get calls about chickens wandering the streets.

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors is looking for volunteers to:

  • monitor buildings in the Loop
  • drive birds to the western suburbs
  • rescue chickens
  • foster chickens

If you’d be interested in helping out with any of these, please contact Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at 773-988-1867.

NOTE: While Home to Roost is concerned with the safety and welfare of chickens, we are NOT a chicken rescue. We do not take in birds.

Humane Society and UEP to collaborate for poultry welfare


This letter is from the Human Society – you can find a copy on the Humane Society’s website here. You can contact your US senators/representatives to urge passage of this legislation. See the link at the bottom of the message.

July 7, 2011

I am excited to announce a historic agreement that The Humane Society of the United States reached this morning with the United Egg Producers, which could result in a complete makeover of the U.S. egg industry and improve the treatment of the 280 million laying hens used each year in U.S. egg production. Thanks to your support over the years, through our state ballot initiatives and legislative and corporate campaigns, we now have a new pathway forward to ban barren battery cages and phase in more humane standards nationwide.

The HSUS and UEP have agreed to work together to advocate for federal legislation that would:

  • Require a moratorium at the end of 2011 on new construction of unenrichable battery cages — small, cramped, cages that nearly immobilize more than 90 percent of laying hens today — and the nationwide elimination of barren battery cages through a phase-out period;
  • Require phased in construction of new hen housing systems that provide hens nearly double the amount of space they’re currently provided;
  • Require environmental enrichments so birds can engage in important natural behaviors currently denied to them in barren cages, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas;
  • Mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage-free hens”;
  • Prohibit forced molting through starvation — an inhumane practice that is inflicted on tens of millions of hens each year and which involves withholding all food from birds for up to two weeks in order to manipulate the laying cycle;
  • Prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses — a common problem in the industry that is harmful to both hens and egg industry workers;
  • Require standards for euthanasia of hens; and
  • Prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these above requirements.

If enacted, this would be the first federal law relating to chickens used for food, as well as the first federal law relating to the on-farm treatment of any species of farm animal.

Some of the provisions would be implemented nearly immediately after enactment, such as those relating to forced molting, ammonia, and euthanasia, and others after just a few years, including labeling and the requirement that all birds will have to have at least 67 square inches of space each. (Currently, approximately 50 million laying hens are confined to only 48 square inches each.) The bill would require that all egg producers increase space per bird in a tiered phase-in, resulting in a final number, within 15 years for nearly all producers, of at minimum, 124-144 square inches of space each, along with the other improvements noted above.

In order to protect Proposition 2 (a landmark laying hen welfare initiative passed in California in 2008 that many of you worked on), all California egg producers — with nearly 20 million laying hens — would be required to eliminate barren battery cages by 2015 (the date Prop 2 goes into effect), and provide all hens with environmental enrichments, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas. This will also apply to the sale of all eggs and egg products in California. And this agreement to pass comprehensive federal legislation on hen welfare puts a hold on planned ballot measures related to laying hen welfare in both Washington and Oregon.

Passing this federal bill would be a historic improvement for hundreds of millions of animals per year. We are grateful to all of our volunteers, supporters, and others who have helped to make the cage confinement of egg-laying hens a national issue, and we will keep you informed as we make progress on this issue. I hope you will contact your U.S. senators and representative today and urge them to support this federal legislation to end barren battery cage confinement and provide more humane standards for laying hens.

Sincerely,
wayne pacelle
Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

© 2011 The Humane Society of the United States | All rights reserved
2100 L Street, NW | Washington, DC 20037
humanesociety@humanesociety.org | 202-452-1100 | humanesociety.org