In March, news of the alleged neglect of more than 50,000 hens on a Central California egg farm spread across the country. The hens were left without food for more than two weeks, resulting in the death of approximately one-third of the population. The owner of the egg farm will likely face animal cruelty charges.
More than 4,000 hens were released into the custody of Animal Place farm animal sanctuary in Grass Valley. The Marin Humane Society (MHS) immediately answered the call for help to assist with this enormous rescue effort and transported more than 400 hens to our facility.
All of the hens were malnourished and some required medical attention. We housed them in our barn where they enjoyed food and plenty of sunshine until they found new homes. In mid-June MHS took in an additional 80 hens from Animal Place. Several dozen hens are still looking for new homes.
When we see cases of animal cruelty and neglect, especially of this magnitude, it begs the question "How could this happen?" In this case, it's been reported that the owner of the egg farm ran out of money to buy food for the animals in his care. We want to remind our community that the Marin Humane Society is available as a resource for Marin animal guardians who are no longer able to provide for animals in their care. As this case so clearly illustrates, animals that are abandoned or let loose outdoors often face a cruel death. When faced with financial hardship, there are alternatives, and the Marin Humane Society is here to help.
Update (May 17, 2012): Three non-profit animal sanctuaries—Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary—filed a complaint in the Stanislaus County Superior Court, seeking justice for 50,000 hens who were abandoned this past February by the owners of A&L Poultry, a Turlock egg production facility.