Hello and a very warm welcome to my newly relaunched blog. I'm Paul a 40 year old family man from the UK. In this complex, information overload 21st century world, too often we lose sight of what's really important. Here I want to celebrate life, share inspirational stories, throw the spotlight on charities and causes close to my heart. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Making a difference in her own back yard - please help end this cruelty

Another fellow review writer Angie who I know from dooyoo (http://dooyoo.co.uk), recently got in touch with me to ask if I could throw the spotlight on animal cruelty and more specifically the appalling conditions in which Battery Hens are forced to exist. 

Although I always try to buy free range labelled eggs, having read this, in future I for one am 100% definitely going to make sure I never purchase any eggs that doesn't make it absolutely clear that they are free range.

It is a clearly a cause to which she is very personally committed to, even to the point of caring for ex Battery hens at her own home. Despite her best efforts over the past year, sadly, the emaciated bird "little red" shown below in the picture  recently lost its fight for life.

Here's an extract from a review she wrote about the plight of these birds which she has kindly given permission for me to reproduce here. 

Although it really makes for uncomfortable reading, please do take a look and if you can please pay a visit to the websites of the charities highlighted.

"As an owner of 3 ex battery hens and very passionate about their plight I have decided to write this in the hope that it may do some good and save a few hens from suffering. 

Battery egg hens live in a tiny cage made of wire, the space they have is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper, so they hardly move. All they can do is to eat, drink and lay egg after egg. Deprived of normal chicken behaviour they will pull out the feathers of hens in nearby cages.

Lights are kept on for longer to encourage them to lay more, this puts a great deal of strain onto their bodies and causes more health problems.

Injuries are common and often not noticed or treated. Broken legs and torn ligaments are not uncommon.

Without being able to scratch around their nails grow long causing more discomfort.

Between 14 and 18 months the hen is of no more use because her egg production drops. At this stage one of 2 things will happen, either she will get lucky and end up being taken by a hen rescue organisation or she will be taken to slaughter and end up in dog food and baby food...yes that's correct baby food!

 Hens can live for up to 10 years and lay for around 4 years. Their natural instinct is to scratch around for food, to perch, take dust baths, stretch out their wings and take some sun and even fly a few feet. All of this is taken away while in those tiny cages.

~What can you do?~

The first thing that you can do is to stop buying eggs from caged hens. Some of the boxes look very attractive and unless you take a close look you might not even realise that they are from caged hens. I know that free range are more expensive but is the few pence really worth the suffering that these poor birds have to indure?

Write to your supermarket and ask them to consider stocking only free range. Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer already have this policy. M&S will not sell anything that contains egg unless it is free range. The Co Op have also stopped selling caged hen eggs. Tescos and Asda still do, not sure about other supermarkets so if anyone can comment on those please do.

Write to the government and express your views and urge them to stop this awful trade.

Maybe you have some room in your garden and could adopt a few ex battery hens yourself.

If you have any cash to spare then consider a donation to one of the ex battery hen organisations. They are not funded in anyway and everyone involved in hen rescues do it out of compassion for then hens. Volunteers are always wanted so again if this is something that you could do then contact them. 



I am particularly sensitive to the ex batt plight today because one of ours is ill. Her body abused from intensive forced laying has taken its toll and we are doing our best to stop her laying but this will take time. She has oedema and her organs are struggling to function normally. She has laid so many eggs in her young life that when she does lay she bleeds.

She has had a wonderful year doing what chickens should be doing and we hope to have another summer with her but right now its one day at a time. We have a no suffering policy so if we have to then we will have her put to sleep, which will break our hearts.

Please help end the suffering.

17 April Update on our poorly hen.

Sadly we lost her this morning, her poor little body could do longer function due to the stress put on it in her life before we gave her the freedom she deserved. R.I.P Little Red :-(

Please everyone that reads this do what you can to help end this cruel industry"


  1. I had NO idea. I am going to start checking those labels. That's horrifying!

  2. Hi Katie,

    I know just what you mean-somehow we just assume that the big supermarkets and the like keep a close watch on the ethics and production methods of the producers / suppliers. Was certainly an eye opener to me

  3. I became a vegetarian many many years ago, after watching several documentaries about the appalling cruelties involved in the breeding and slaughtering of animals. It's a terrible stain on our humanity.

  4. I can fully understand that Marty - for me what shocks me about it is that there are so many better alternatives already available that don't really cost that much more if done properly - that's the real shame of it

  5. Though I confess the plight of chickens has never been a major concern, my Mum worked in a battery farm egg packing place and because of that we moved towards free range much earlier than was popular.

    I also genuinely think that well kept birds lay nicer eggs.

    But still - if I'm honest, by the time it's covered in 11 herbs and spices, I lose all the moral high ground and tuck right in.

  6. Thank you Paul for posting this, I'm very grateful.
    We are still getting over the loss of Red, her two friends that we still have also miss her. It has made us more determined to help the plight of ex batts even more...for Red. There are 2 rescues coming up in May, fingers crossed they will all find good homes.

  7. A tribute to Red

    In the begining of May 2009 3 scared, half fethered hens arrived. Red was the smallest of the 3 and had a very bad limp, no feathers on her neck, bum and just a few crusty wing feathers. Her feather situation never improved but to us she was still the most gorgeous girl in the world. From the moment I laid eyes on her she pulled my heartstrings so much that it hurt...I fell in love with her.

    Over time her limp got a lot better and she learned to half hop, half fly around the garden. She loved a cuddle, would spend hours on my lap on the swinging chair. Red would *share* my lunch with me whenever she had the chance. She also enjoyed sofa time, catching up on the soaps. She was spolit with sweetcorn, cabages and mealworms and was very much a character. On A Sunday morning when Rosie (another ex bat) did her sermon Red would join in with some hymns.

    Her last week was very up and down, with every egg she laid she bled more, her internal organs slowly packing up, she was in a lot of pain, Donna (her other mum) and I knew that it was time.

    Red cuddled right into me, nuzzled into my hair one last time and we said goodbye.

    We are trying to console ourselves by remembering the wonderful year that she had, maybe in time that will help. For now thought the pain is too much.

    Rest in peace Red..Love you so much XX
    Mummy Angela and Mummy Donna

  8. I do appreciate your honesty Glen, I think most of us are in that boat - but this has certainly made me rethink a few things

  9. Angela - what can I say, really brings it home when you describe all the little character quirks and preferences that red had - I sincerely wish you all the best with future rehoming and the campaign, and thank you again for bringing this sickening practice to my attention

  10. Truly appreciate your concern Paul - and sorry for your loss Angela...

    But would like to mention that things are very much different here in India. We do have M&S and other international chains, but we don't have any sort of labels to differentiate b/w free range and caged... So I guess its going to be a while before we can really start implementing this.

    I have seen a lot of free ranges and caged hen sites, but again - there is no labeling done to classify them. I will put up a post about this and try to figure out if we can initiate something - however, its a long shot.

    Nevertheless, thanks for the information - helps us understand different cultures! Cheers, God bless!

  11. The second image little bit blur,cruelty has become pat of human life. btw I have just follow your blog please follow me back at bali-deals.blogspot.com , many thanks from Bali

  12. I have seen very cruel deeds and treatments of chickens and pigs, here in The Philippines. It makes me very sad.

  13. Thanks for your kind sentiments Maulik -I appreciate it's quite different in your part of the world, but nonetheless things can only be changed through the support of people like you who are prepared to try

  14. thanks Bali-sadly you are right, but awareness is key

  15. Hi Charity,
    seeing such cruelty first hand is very distressing - all we can do is try and educate and make things a little better

  16. This just breaks my heart. I think you are right about education being the first step. It is hard to swallow, however.

  17. Thanks Amander, I guess sometimes we have to take a hard look at things, and if we can all make small changes like choose free range eggs every time, it can help bring about change


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