A little hen. Picture her. She’s sentient, she’s unique; her mind thinks complex thoughts, she knows so many things, but has never known freedom.
She sits in her twilight world hemmed in by others on all sides, her frail little body toiling, convulsing yet again to lay her egg as it has for all the time she can remember. There are no days in this world, no nights. She has never known daylight or sunshine on her back, on the few sparse and tattered feathers that remain.
She has never felt a breeze, has never known anything but the stench that comes from too many frail feathered bodies, toiling alongside her, each locked in their own world of misery, irritable in the crush of their fellow victims, their sore and mutilated beaks useless to demand some space.
She has never known the cool and quiet night, a peaceful roost, the quiet reassuring cluck of friends as evening falls.
Time has no meaning here, unrelieved by joy or light, she will know only boredom, desperation and toil. Her cage is not of wire, or even of this place where only a mere handful of the prisoners can see ‘outside’. Her real prison is the convulsing body that our species has created for our selfishness; the body that labours bleakly to lay a single clutch, despairing every time hope rolls away.
If she could dream, she’d dream of sunshine on her back, a dusty patch to fluff herself. She’d dream of a private place, a place that only she knows. She’d dream of a few bits of straw and grass to make a nest. She’d dream of a world without the whirr of machines that roll away those treasured eggs, each egg encapsulating all the hopes her broken mothering instinct does not know how to dream.
We may know the price of a carton of eggs, of the products that contain these broken dreams. But we know nothing of the cost; the true cost that she is paying every day with the weight of her despair.
It doesn’t have to be like this; consuming eggs is not ‘natural’ and it should never be thought of as ‘normal’. Be vegan. Start today. It’s simply the right thing to do.
Grateful thanks to Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary Ireland for this image of Joy. She was one of the very few to be rescued and this is the film of the day it happened. Hens rescued from Enriched Battery Cages