As we recently reported in our newsletter (sign up here if you haven’t already), VINE and every other sanctuary that offers refuge to chickens continue to be besieged by backyard hen-keepers with unwanted roosters. We’ve already expanded several times, making more and more room for roosters, but cannot hope to keep up.
Many sanctuaries, most notably United Poultry Concerns, have worked on this problem over the years. In 2009, we coordinated a coalition effort among sanctuaries. Now, sparked by what seems to be an upsurge in calls and messages requesting refuge for roosters, we’re about to mount another push.
The odds are against us. While marketed as an animal-friendly way for families to become less dependent on corporations, backyard hen-keeping is big business for hatcheries and vendors of equipment and supplies.
It’s also bad news for birds. That’s one of the messages we’ll be trying to convey as part of our new strategy to dissuade gullible consumers from falling for this fad. We’ll be taking the kind of strategic approach that we have long advocated on this blog and is discussed in pattrice’s new book, The Oxen at the Intersection. In short, we’ll try to simultaneously (1) undermine the forces driving the backyard hen-keeping trend; (2) block or interfere with backyard chicken-keeping for any purpose other than competently providing refuge to birds who otherwise would be homeless; and (3) channel the healthy impulses that sometimes lead people to begin keeping chickens into truly healthy and bird-friendly activities, such as veganic gardening, wild bird rehabilitation, and setting up backyard wildlife refuges.
Stay tuned for an analysis of the many forces (including not only modern-day capitalism but also ancient gender stereotypes) that are driving this trend. In the meantime, what we need are folks to help us get our new push rolling:
- We need volunteers to work online and in their own communities. If you have some hours to spare and have been looking for a project, leave a comment below or use the “contact us” link in the right sidebar. We’ll send you a more detailed overview of our strategy, along with our volunteer needs, so that you can decide where you might fit in.
- We need donors to help cover the costs of this effort. Click here to make a one-time or recurring donation to our campaigns fund.
- We need signal boosters to help us spread the word (or write letters themselves) whenever we need people from a particular city or state to write to newspapers or legislators. Click here to sign up for VINE action alerts, which are sent out separately from our newsletter and blog.
(We also need help in supporting all of the roosters already living here at the sanctuary. Just $5 a month covers the cost of feed and bedding. Click here to sign up to sponsor a rooster, and you will receive a photo and regular updates about your new feathered friend.)