Sunday, January 02, 2011

Free Range Humans

I dont know if its 'permitted' to include someone elses writings in a blog but the next 2 articles are not mine

many years ago, my partner at the time berated me for buying "caged eggs" in a supermarket.
It had never really occurred to me before to consider under what conditions the hens might be living who were donating the eggs I was purchasing.
After being "reprimanded" by my partner for contributing to animal cruelty, I researched the process of "battery hen" eggs and was shocked and revolted to the point where I am happy to say I have never knowingly purchased "caged eggs" again.
A few years ago, in a bid to be more eco-friendly I started my own veggie garden and obtained a couple of chicks from a local pet store, who grew into lovely fat black hens who free-range in the yard, devour the insects that live in the veggies and provide healthy free eggs for my family. At one point, I was offered the opportunity to provide a home for a "battery hen" or a "caged hen" by a person who "knew someone" who "knew someone" and so on.. who needed homes for hens that had been "rescued". Remembering what I had learned about battery hens I was happy to offer my home for as long as required.
The creature that was delivered to my home had more resemblance to a "chicken nugget" than it did to a living breathing hen. There was no apparent life in this poor creature, barely any movement, almost no feathers to speak of and those that remained fell out like rotting hair when I first touched her. She look for all the world like one of those comedic squeaky "rubber chicken" toys you see in the stores.
I was so disheartened I couldn't stop crying. I laid this poor little girl down on the ground and my other girls immediately ran over to inspect her. Instead of the territorial pecking I was expecting, they acted as though they were witnessing a concentration-camp survivor. There seemed to be an air of shock and disbelief, of fear even, as though they didnt recognise this creature as one of their own, which, in a way, she wasn't.
After a long while of disbelieving inspection, poking and odd noises from my girls, they both settled down next to this poor half-dead creature and began to have a dirt bath, with her in the middle. During this entire event, my new little survivor had her eyes tightly closed, huddled in on herself and seemingly terrified - agoraphobic? It was probably the first time she'd ever seen the sky, grass or other creatures with real feathers and flesh on them. After a while, my girls got bored and wandered away to forage, leaving the new hen lying in the dirt on her own.
Slowly, slowly, she opened her eyes and looked around her. She then stretched out her wings and lay them on the ground as though hugging the earth for the first time, which it probably was. She lay like that for an hour or so, I thought she had actually died, but then suddenly folded wings and sat up, showing the first signs of real life.
After that she went mad in a frenzy of dirt bathing and started to hobble around and nibble at the grass. Watching this hen come to life over time was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. She's a mum now, and protects her chicks more strenuously, has more personality and seems to be more vivacious and life-loving than my other girls. I put this down to the fact that she never knew what she was missing until she had the opportunity to find out, and it now means more to her than to the others, who were born to it and never underwent the privations that she did.
Recently, I realised I am also a "battery hen" stuck in a cage made for me at my birth, where I seem to have no choice but to be shaped and contained by it, being fed what they want me to ingest, participating in the huge production line that is my current life, until I am too old to contribute and therefore useless and may look forward only to the mercy of death.
In realising this I have realised that I do not want this life, I have not chosen it, but rather had it chosen for me by the "society" that I am a part of. I am no longer a willing participant in this "society" where I cannot even close my bank account as I will then not be able to earn an income, as my employer does not offer "cash" as a payment method, where I cannot live in any kind of legal dwelling as I must have a legal identity, job and bank account in order to be on a tenancy agreement and pay my rent to keep a room over my children's heads and food in their mouths, where I am controlled by rules and regulations I don't fully understand at every turn and am not offered any alternative to these "choices" that I have been forced into - which negates the very definition of "choice". Even worse is the realisation that I have brought my own offspring into this same situation before ever realising what it really is that we are living/existing/imprisoned in.
How then, does a battery hen escape the cage? I wish to wake up from this nightmare and start my life.


Anonymous said...

Great post.

vjohn82 said...

This is a fantastic post. It makes you think about life in a completely different way.

limenghaohao said...

Great thoughts, good to know I am not alone.

Dan Weisman said...

Wonderful and perceptive post. I will share this story with with the kids and adults I teach. It's never too late to reinvent, reawaken to one's true self.... and it certainly helps to be surrounded by 'living examples' of what is possible for you. Thank you Dannyshine!

Dan Weisman of Maui
'Have Fun Will Travel.'