• What do you with the eggs that the PPS hens lay?
• Can PPS take our unwanted rooster(s)?
• Does PPS receive funding from the government?
• Aren’t eggs labeled “cage-free” or "free-range" a humane product?
• Why "Cage-Free "or "Free-Range" Eggs Are NOT a Humane Alternative – In a Nutshell
• But I heard the cows have to be milked or they will die…
• But they don’t kill cows for their milk, do they?
• What about “organic “milk?
• I’ve always wanted to open a sanctuary…
• Classroom Chick Hatching Projects Should Be Replaced with Humane Education
What do you with the eggs that the PPS hens lay?
Well, they are not our eggs to do anything with, they belong to the hens and no one else. The chickens will actually eat their own eggs as it helps to replenish their bodies’ nutrients. When we find unbroken eggs, we break them open for the chickens to eat - which they love.
Can PPS take our unwanted rooster(s)?
In order to take the rooster, we will require the relinquishment of the hens along with the rooster , a relinquishment fee, and a signed agreement that you will not continue to purchase/hatch chicks.
You have witnessed firsthand one of the problems with keeping backyard hens. For every egg laying hen, a rooster has either been murdered at the hatchery, or has escaped, briefly, only to be discarded later. There is NO humane way to produce eggs for human consumption, and back yard operations only exacerbate the problem by giving the illusion that it is humane. Billions of roosters are murdered for their sister’s eggs no matter if the hens end up in a battery facility or in someone’s backyard. The few existing sanctuaries cannot possibly accommodate all the discarded roosters (and these are only the small percentage that aren't correctly sexed and killed at the hatcheries). The roosters relinquished at shelters are killed.
We get asked to take unwanted roosters year-round, but especially in late spring and early summer when people buy chicks from feed stores or online suppliers in order to set up their own “back-yard” egg operation. People only want hens because roosters don't lay eggs, and because they can be loud and very protective of their flock, which is often perceived as aggression by humans.
The hatcheries that supply feed stores and online shops separate the males from the females shortly after hatching. The females are packed and sold. The males are murdered in mass - sometimes they are even used as disposable packaging material for the baby hens who are shipped via US mail.
It is important for everyone to realize that egg production on any scale - from back-yard operations, to so called “free-range" or "cage-free” facilities, to factory farms - involves the killing of ALL baby chicks identified as roosters. Occasionally, baby roosters slip through the sexing process and are sold as baby hens.
We receive countless calls from people who suddenly realize they have one or more roosters and expect sanctuaries to relieve them of that responsibility. Sadly, we can only accept a small fraction of the thousands of roosters we are asked to take in.
PPS will only accept the lifelong care of a rooster under these conditions:
1. We must have adequate room. Roosters are very territorial and require a great deal of space that is not already claimed by other roosters. They also require predator-proof fencing and housing, as well as daily feed and care for the duration of their lifetime - which can be up to 15 years.
2. In order to take the rooster, we will require the relinquishment of the hens along with the rooster, a relinquishment fee, and a signed agreement that you will not continue to purchase/hatch chicks, or acquire other farmed animals in the future.
3. The person must sign a relinquishment contract agreeing to never acquire ANY farmed animal(s) in the future.
A glimpse inside a typical hatchery.
An Eyewitness Account of a Hatchery Worker
by Victor Schonfeld, director of The Animals Film
"I was chosen for a special assignment, in the hatchery. The rooms were silent but for the faint hum of machines, the air hot and humid, so that when we levered out the huge metal trays of newly hatched chicks from the oven-like incubators, the yellow fluff balls chirruped cheerfully. A sea of yellow beings jostled among broken shells.
The facility manager had shown me a hatch to swivel open and finish the job. Below it were dumpsters, several already full to the brim. Masses of broken eggshells were heaped in there, among them quite a number of chirruping chicks, very much alive. This was the trash someone would dispose of later. How, I had not been told. Meanwhile, the new crop of broken shells was to be tossed down there, along with the unwanted male chicks and any females I judged too small or weak to meet the standards of the facility.
I carried my first tray to the opening. Dozens of living chicks slid into the void. The chicks I'd pitched to the bottom of the dumpster would be crushed or asphyxiated as others were thrown on top of them. I went back to the hatchery chamber, eyes searching for a human face who could reassure me. What I'd done just now was "what was done", wasn't it? It was OK, wasn't it? But there was no one present.
A second tray from which I'd extracted the females was on the selection table, ready for disposal. I yanked off my plastic gloves and reached for one of the male chicks and lifted him up in my bare hand. It seemed the right thing to be merciful. Peasants wring chickens' necks, don't they? I edged my fingers into a tight hold round his neck, just below the little bright-eyed face peering back at me. Then I realised I had to get out of there. What kind of place was this? I stood and wept."
~ Victor Schonfeld.
The sexing process. The male chicks (roosters) are separated from the females.
The males are either ground up alive and used for fertilizer, or suffocated in plastic bags, or simply discarded as living trash.
Does PPS receive funding from the government?
No. PPS is a non-profit organization and does NOT receive any funding from the government even though local municipalities and agencies often rely on PPS to assist on farmed animal matters.
PPS depends on the generosity of individual donors and supporters. We do not rely on millionaires or celebrities to fund the sanctuary. In fact, we have found that some of the most modest people, with the most modest incomes, are also our most generous supporters. They know that the suffering farmed animals endure is on such a massive scale that the back-breaking work on their behalf cannot be left to only a handful of "dedicated souls", or “people like us”. The animals need everyone's involvement! And, on their behalf, we encourage you to get involved, and we thank you for it!
PPS is an all-volunteer organization and the core people involved in running the day to day operations, education, outreach, web design, maintenance, and accounting, donate the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars in services, supplies, and labor. So, be assured, in any and all pleas for funds, we will never ask more of our supporters and members than we ask of ourselves every single day. We, and the animals, need EVERYONE'S support in order to provide for the most abused animals in the world, Farmed Animals.
Aren’t eggs labeled “cage-free” a humane product?
No. There is NO such thing as “humanely produced” animal products. All egg, milk, or flesh production involves unspeakable brutality.
Contrary to popular perception, chickens ARE killed for their eggs. But, unlike "broiler" chickens who are slaughtered at 8 weeks of age, egg laying hens are forced to endure 1-2 years of misery, pain and suffering before they are murdered. Whether used in "cage-free" or battery facilities, ALL of the hens are brutally slaughtered at 1-2 years of age, as soon as their "productivity" wanes. And, for every hen in the line of egg production, there is a dead baby rooster who was killed and discarded shortly after hatching.
If allowed to live a truly natural life at a sanctuary, chickens can live for up to 15 years. For more info see here.
Why "Cage-Free "or "Free-Range" Eggs Are NOT a Humane Alternative – In a Nutshell
No matter where the egg production facility is, or what the 'visible to the public 'conditions are, the egg-laying hens are obtained from the same hatcheries that kill the baby rooster chicks at only one day old. If the "free-range" farm hatches its own chicks, two important questions still remain.
1. What happens to ALL of the male chicks – not just few token roosters – ALL of them?
2. What happens to the hens when they are no longer laying enough eggs for this facility to be profitable?
If the spent hens and ALL of the roosters were allowed to live out their lives until they died a natural death – chickens can live well over a decade – then that farm would soon have thousands of "spent" hens and roosters to care for. Obviously, the lifelong care of all of those birds, at all stages of a natural life span, would cut severely into any profits made by selling the eggs of younger hens.
So what happens to ALL of the boys? And what happens to ALL of the spent hens?
Hens are generally considered spent by egg-laying facilities at one to two years – meaning, the farm then has to provide predator-proof shelter, food, veterinary care, etc. for that same hen, for another decade. The roosters will require dozens of separate yards, predator-proof shelters, food, vet care, etc. for their entire lives.
In order to make a profit, the numbers simply don't add up unless the inevitable killing of roosters and spent hens is occurring.
But I heard the cows have to be milked or they will die…
Like women, female cows do not lactate unless they are pregnant or nursing. To keep a cow lactating, she is forcibly impregnated year after year. To keep her milk for human consumption, she is forcibly separated from her newborn babies time after time, a separation that is devastating to both mother and child.
The mother cow spends her life grieving for baby after baby. Her babies are killed for veal if they are male. If they are female, they are taken away and raised as “replacer” cows whose "purpose" is to replace their own mothers, or some other poor “spent” mother cows whose battered and abused bodies can no longer keep up with the unnaturally large amount of milk they are expected to produce, and who are sent to slaughter at only 4-7 years of age - over a decade less than their natural lifespan.
But they don’t kill cows for their milk, do they?"
ALL dairy cows and ALL of their babies are killed as a routine part of milk production. Just like egg laying hens, dairy cows and their babies are sent to a brutal and terrifying slaughter at the end of a short, miserable life.
What about “organic “milk?
The exact same factors, biology and economics, apply to organic milk too. The only difference is the type of feed given to the lactating cows. But the mother cows still have their babies torn from them, the milk their bodies produced for their calves is still stolen from them, and their lives are still violently ended as soon as their milk production declines. For more info, see Here, and Here.
I’ve always wanted to open a sanctuary…
Wonderful! The animals, especially farmed animals, need all of the available resources to be used to save their lives.
Which is why you must be sure that opening a sanctuary is really the best, most efficient and most productive way for you to spend all of your existing resources to help the animals.
The fact that the least amount of help, shelter, funding, advocacy, and public support goes to the greatest number of abused animals on earth (over 98% of ALL animals in need), farmed animals, is why we can never have too many well run farmed animal sanctuaries...
That said, if anyone is considering opening a farmed animal sanctuary rather than putting their resources into an existing sanctuary, it is essential that they carefully, honestly and seriously consider the following factors. The animal’s lives - billions of them - are depending on us to do what is absolutely the best for them, and there is no time to lose in fighting and working to protect them.
Here’s a short checklist to start with (click on each item to read more):
• Are you prepared to dedicate the rest of your life to the sanctuary and all day, every day of the year, to the responsibilities of prioritizing the care of the animals?
• Do you know people with other skills (such as education outreach, web design/maintenance, fundraising, bookkeeping/accounting, public relations skills) who will be equally dedicated to the sanctuary and its mission?
• Will you and your co-founders and Board abide by this basic Sanctuary Code of Ethics?
• Are you making any of these common but incorrect assumptions?
“I’ll hire someone to do that”
“I’ll get grants to fund the sanctuary”
“I don’t need to know about animal anatomy, physiology and medical health; that’s what Veterinarians are for...”
Are you prepared to dedicate the rest of your life to the sanctuary and all day, every day of the year, to the responsibilities of prioritizing the care of the animals?
You will be challenged physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially every day.
With or without volunteers and/or staff, you will still be the primary person in charge of all of the day to day operations. You will need to be able to lift and carry at least 50 pounds, then multiply that by dozens or even hundreds of feed bags, hay bails, tools and supplies that will need to be hauled around every day and in all weather conditions. You will need to handle animals who weigh several times your own body weight. You will do back-breaking work daily. A high “gross-out” tolerance is a must. Quite often, you will be in direct contact with, if not covered in, urine, feces, blood, and other bodily fluids.
Emotionally, operating a sanctuary is like riding a roller coaster; today you rescue an abused animal and feel elated because you made a difference; tomorrow an animal in your care dies and you feel terrible because you couldn't prevent it. One day you meet someone who wants to support your work and you feel hopeful; the next day you see an animal who has been brutally treated or neglected while fully realizing that there are billions more out there who are in constant pain and agony and who are out of your reach, and you feel there is no hope.
Pain, suffering and death are things you will have to deal with constantly while still being able to care for the hundreds of animals in need of your attention. Phone calls, emails, bills, and all other problems and daily occurrences will not stop. A strong mind is as important as a strong body, but you must always keep things in perspective while remembering your long-term goals of creating a compassionate vegan world. You will find yourself laughing and crying - sometimes at the same time.
Dealing with the general public’s daily calls and emails is not only time consuming but can be frustrating and incredibly stressful, which only adds to an already stressful life. After all, it is only because of the public’s demand for animal products that you must rescue and advocate for the animals in the first place. They, and you, would like to point to some other “Bad Guy” like the slaughterhouse worker, or the ranch hand who beats kicks and screams at the helpless and terrified animals, and, yes, they are viciously cruel. But ultimately, they are only being paid to be cruel by every single person who buys and consumes dairy, eggs and animal flesh in the form of neatly packaged body parts, menu items, groceries, and clothes. Which is why a strong vegan advocacy program should accompany the sanctuary work at all times.
If your fundraising plans don’t pan out and/or your expenses exceed your budget, YOU are responsible for generating the funds to keep the sanctuary in operation - the animals’ lives depend on your dependability.
At least two people who are 100% committed to the sanctuary and its residents, must live on site and be ready to tend to their needs night and day, every day - come rain, shine, oppressive heat, bitter cold, snow storms, or ... just plain, ordinary days.
Most people do not realize how demanding and all-consuming running a sanctuary is. We highly recommend that anyone seriously considering opening their own sanctuary start by volunteering, then interning for at least several months at an existing sanctuary. There is no manual to teach you all of the things you will need to know and be prepared for. In addition to the 18 hour days, 7 days a week of animal care and sanctuary maintenance, you must make time for fundraising - one of the most difficult yet critical aspects of running a sanctuary - and you must have a strong vegan education and outreach plan for the sanctuary.
Back to checklist
Do you know people with other skills (such as education outreach, web design and maintenance, fundraising, bookkeeping and accounting, public relations skills) who will be equally dedicated to the sanctuary and its mission?
It is important to be able to recruit dependable, responsible and equally dedicated volunteers to help with these aspects.
Generally, your Board of Directors (to be) will help to fill these roles. They must be people who have the same long-term goals towards vegan and farmed animal advocacy as you have. You cannot successfully run a sanctuary without these components - along with your day to day animal care and veterinary expertise.
Back to checklist
Will you and your co-founders and Board abide by this basic Sanctuary Code of Ethics?
SANCTUARY CODE OF ETHICS
A Sanctuary is a place of safety and care for animals whose only alternative would be an unsuitable setting, suffering, or death. The sanctuary is the base for animal advocacy. It provides lifelong care for its residents, and also provides motivation and example for advocating for less fortunate animals still in need of protection. In fulfilling the sanctuary’s obligations to the animals it serves, the sanctuary abides by the following Code of Ethics:
I. Animals are not allowed to breed
No animal should be deliberately or inadvertently allowed to breed as breeding new animals would occupy already scarce space and other resources and thus be an impediment to rescuing existing animals.
II. Animals will not be used in commercial activities
Animals will not be bought except under life saving circumstances, sold, traded, or hired out for entertainment, or other such circumstances not consistent with their natural ways. Public access is restricted and only occurs under conditions of nonintrusiveness and respect for their privacy.
III. Sanctuary accepts life-long responsibility for its residents
Farmed or companion animals may be adopted if standard of care are high and prohibitions of breeding and commercial activity are complied with by the adopter.
IV. Welfare of the animal is always the primary criterion for a decision.
Emotional, economic, or other needs of the sanctuary managers and workers will not jeopardize the best interests of the animals.
V. No animal products: eggs, milk, or flesh, will ever be used for fundraising or any other purposes. This means All-Vegan events and fundraisers sponsored by the organization.
Back to checklist
Are you making any of these common but incorrect assumptions?
“I’ll hire someone to do that.”
Don’t count on it! The reality is, that even if you do have the funds - after purchasing properly zoned acreage (be sure to check with the zoning department of your county to ensure that all animals you will be rescuing are allowed on the property - do NOT make assumptions!), feed storage equipment, tools, farm implements, hay, bedding, feed, grains, and building and maintaining barns, fences, ponds, etc., - finding someone with the experience of working with and around farmed animals, is very difficult. Most people who have that experience have gained it growing up or working on a ranch or farm where animals are treated as commodities to be “managed", wrangled, and eventually slaughtered. So finding a person who will treat the rescued residents - animals who have already been traumatized, injured, and manhandled - with the respect and gentle loving care they deserve is nearly impossible. If you are able to find someone who is qualified, be aware that you will still need to painstakingly train them and oversee their work. That person may also be very unreliable and may leave the job with little or no notice since better paying jobs with much less physical (and emotional) work are often available.
“I’ll get grants to fund the sanctuary.”
Good Luck! Although there are millions of grant monies available to animal shelters and causes, the vast majority goes to companion animal organizations and wildlife. Even though farmed animals comprise over 98% of all animals exploited and abused, and they are in desperate need of protection, care and advocacy, very, very few resources are available to them.
Most of the grant foundations are run by people who consider themselves animal lovers, yet they eat and wear the largest group of abused animals in the world, farmed animals.
“I don’t need to know about animal anatomy, physiology and medical health; that’s what Veterinarians are for...”
Well, yes, you will need to develop a relationship with at least one large animal vet (they are usually referred to as ”livestock” and “food animal” vets, though), and at least one avian specialist vet, although often times they will still not accept a chicken, duck, goose or other domestic farmed birds as patients, only exotic parrots and other “pet” birds.
The sad fact is that even the most well trained “livestock” vet comes out of vet school and goes into practice to work for the animal exploiting industries. They are trained to see the animal as a commodity whose only purpose is to either grow rapidly and have certain physical traits that will bring the “owner” the most amount of money at auction/slaughter; or, to make the animal a breeding machine, or to make the animal “produce” the greatest volume of eggs, milk, etc. as possible, as quickly as possible, and as inexpensively as possible for the “owner”.
Therefore, these vets rarely have any experience with diagnostic work, let alone treatments for various illnesses and physical conditions, because the industry sees sick and injured animals as expendable. “Livestock” vets also rarely have any experience with geriatric farmed animals - again - for the same reason, most farmed animals are killed as either babies or very young adults.
You must learn as much as possible about farmed animal care, while still having to rely on veterinarians’ help for several other situations. And don’t expect any price breaks or donations just because you are a charity. Remember, the work you are doing at the sanctuary contradicts and even condemns what they have chosen to do for a career. That said... you still must develop a good working relationship with a vet(s) who can come to you and will respect your approach to farmed animal care.
This list is only a small fraction of considerations and issues a sanctuary operator will need to address. Again, the most efficient and practical way to learn is by volunteering and interning at one or more existing farmed animal sanctuary for a good deal of time and throughout different seasons. If you have got what it takes, the sanctuary community and the animals who rely on us will be thrilled to welcome you.
However, if operating a sanctuary is not for you, please consider pouring your resources into an existing sanctuary who can maximize your contributions. We all have a responsibility and a role to play in this mission to protect farmed animals.