7 Simple Things You Can Do to Show Respect for Chickens

chickensdayToday, May 4 is International Respect for Chickens Day, a campaign developed by United Poultry Concerns to celebrate chickens (as friends, not food) and to bring attention to the atrocious treatment that chickens suffer in farming operations.

Here are 7 simple things that you can do to show your respect for chickens:

  1. Don’t eat them. Chickens, especially those on factory farms, endure horrific suffering, just for us to enjoy a fleeting taste on our tongues. Even those raised “humanely” usually experience enormous stress and suffering in their transport and slaughter — some are even boiled alive. Learn more about the conditions that these beings endure and ask yourself whether you’d want to experience the same. If not, then you have a responsibility to stop contributing to their suffering and death. Find out more:
  2. Take the egg-free pledge. May is National Egg Month, and egg producers are working hard to convince citizens to eat more eggs. Instead, take the egg-free pledge and choose egg-free products for at least 30 days. Battery hens (those hens who are used to lay eggs for human consumption) endure terribly inhumane conditions, and male “battery chicks” are killed immediately, since they are of no use to the industry, usually by slowly suffocating them or by grinding them up alive.
  3. Question your assumptions. Many people think of chickens as stupid animals, but that’s completely untrue. When we take the time to study what chickens are really like, the degree of their intelligence and the complexity of their lives emerges. Check out:
  4. Learn more about them. In addition to learning about how they’re treated for food, learn about the natural lives of chickens. For example, did you know…
    • Building a private nest is so important to chickens that they’ll go without food and water, if they have to, to instead be able to use a nest.
    • They often talk to their babies before they’ve been born.
    • They take dust baths instead of showers.
    • They can see light in the morning almost an hour before humans can.
    • At night, they like to fly up to safe places in trees to sleep.
    • They recognize their names (if given one by humans) and the faces of others.
    • Chicken moms are very courageous and will go to great lengths to protect their babies.
    • They are intelligent and good problem solvers. They can understand that, even when an object is taken away, it still exists.
    • They have separate alarm calls, depending on whether a predator is traveling by land or air.

    Find out more through useful resources, such as:

    • The Natural History of the Chicken (from PBS)
    • Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good by Jonathan Balcombe
    • The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals by Jeffrey Masson
    • The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery
  5. Watch your language. Using words and phrases such as “bird brain,” “running around like a chicken with his head cut off,” to “chicken out,” and so on, spread disrespect for and misinformation about chickens. Think consciously about the language that you use.
  6. Share with others. Use your knowledge about chickens and the way they’re treated to compassionately educate others. Point adults to websites and videos. Share age-appropriate activities and resources with kids (suggested ones here, here and here). Don’t just blast everyone with horrifying accounts; share positive and uplifting stories. Help them get to know chickens and then encourage them to take positive action to help end their suffering and exploitation.
  7. Meet a chicken or two. It’s much more difficult to make judgments and assumptions about those we haven’t personally met. Take advantage of a farmed animal sanctuary near you and go and meet some chickens! Get to know them!
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6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this terrific blog on behalf of International Respect for Chickens Day May 4th and International Respect for Chickens Month -the month of May.

    Please, if you would, add to your resources, United Poultry Concerns’ Website: http://www.upc-online.org, and to your recommended books, my book: PRISONED CHICKENS, POISONED EGGS, published in 2009.

    PRISONED CHICKENS, POISONED EGGS provides a comprehensive look at all aspects of poultry and egg production focusing on chickens in industrial and “alternative” food production operations with links to human health and environmental issues. It shows the beauty and intelligence of chickens and how endearingly social and friendly chickens are. PRISONED CHICKENS, POISONED EGGS can be ordered by going to http://www.upc-online.org.

    Thank you again for Sticking Up for Chickens and for making every day Respect for Chickens Day.

    Karen Davis, PhD, President
    United Poultry Concerns
    PO Box 150
    Machipongo, VA 23405 USA
    (757) 678-7875
    karen@upc-online.org
    http://www.upc-online.org

  2. Hi, Karen,

    Thanks so much for your comments. Glad you liked the post.

    I’ll definitely add UPC to our links and your book to our resources. Both are valuable additions. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Thank you for all that you do to help our feathered friends.

    Peace,

    Marsha

  3. Hello.
    Thanks for some of the info.

    AND REMEMBER TO GET FREE RUN EGGS!

    THE CHICKENS CAN RUN AROUND AND BE FREE SO THEY

    WONT ME STRESSED IN SMALL CAGES!

    Thank You.
    I appreciate everybody’s concerns.

    From,
    ChickenHelperSAVECHICKENS

  4. *I meant BE not ME!

  5. Hello.
    Thanks for some of the info.

    AND REMEMBER TO GET FREE RUN EGGS!

    THE CHICKENS CAN RUN AROUND AND BE FREE SO THEY

    WONT ME STRESSED IN SMALL CAGES!

    Thanl You.
    I appreciate everybody's concerns.

    From,
    ChickenHelperSAVECHICKENS;

  6. Love your stuff – as I’m a fellow chicken lover will be back!

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