I’ve spent the last few days with my head in research, looking into every aspect I can think of that would be important to the accuracy of my story. I did a large amount of searching last year in general, when I first considered rescuing some battery hens and again when doing an animal welfare project. I looked at factory farming, animal testing, bull fighting, animal circuses, traditional animal sports, religious traditions and much more, the list being seemingly endless. And no matter how many times you read the facts, they’re still as horrific as ever.
My main thought, when I see cruel images, or read cruel things, is how the people owning and running the battery farms can sleep at night knowing they’re making hundreds of thousands of birds suffer every single day. Are they immune from their conscience, or what? They just don’t really care about anything but profit? I admittedly forget sometimes, that not everyone in the world cares for animals like I and many others do, because I just struggle to put myself in their shoes. With whatever I do in life, I like to put myself in the others shoes to try and understand why a person did what they did. But in terms of animal cruelty, the minute my feet touch their bloodied footwear, they make me feel sick to the bone and I have to jump back out. Because their excuses don’t credit their actions. Some people do care, but are pressured into a fast pace job, some just all around don’t care.
It lingers on my mind though, when I do research as intense as this. I had to stop a couple of months back from doing anything animal related because it made me feel depressed. It’s just so heart-wrenching, when you know you alone can make little difference. You can donate money, write a blog to bring awareness, rescue hens, take part in a charity fundraiser, but you just can’t stop it all by clicking your fingers, which is ideally what we would all like to do. Just to click our fingers and all the suffering will be in the past. It doesn’t work like that and the suffering continues to mount up every second of every day, every month of every year and every decade of every century.
I have found some new information today on the intelligence of chickens, which helps me to look at my own hens in a completely different way. As much as people say they’re ‘dumb’, they’re not. They’re really not. I found this information on Beauty Without Cruelty website, and some of these things really quite surprised me, because I’ve always been given the impression that chickens aren’t the smartest of creatures.
Here’s some chicken facts from the website that I thought were quite interesting:
“chickens are able to understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden or removed from view. This level of cognition is actually beyond the capacity of small human children.”
“chickens can anticipate the future and demonstrate self control…scientists made this discovery after they observed that when given the option between pecking a button and receiving a small food reward instantly, or holding out for 22 seconds in order to receive a larger food reward, chickens in the study demonstrated self-control by holding out for the larger reward over 90 percent of the time.”
“chickens learn from observing the success and failure of others in their community. One experiment involved teaching one group of chickens to peck red and green buttons a certain number of time to obtain a food reward. Researchers were surprised to find that when a new group of chickens watched those who had learned how to push the buttons, the new chickens quickly caught on.”
“chickens have a cultural knowledge that they pass down from generation to generation.”
Iona Gibson (PiellaGibson)