North Carolina is one of the largest poultry producing states in the U.S., including both meat birds (called "broilers" by the industry) and laying hens. As a result, in the case of meat birds, many millions of chickens are hatched, raised in large sheds for about six weeks, and then shipped off to be slaughtered for wings, breasts, and other familiar processed chicken products.This industrialized assembly line is as efficient as it is cruel, and very few birds make it out alive.
Helen is one inspiring exception.
Helen, as we came to call her, was found by two compassionate people alongside a rural road. One of them, a vegan, made the heroic choice to turn around and check on the bird whom she thought might have moved as they were driving by. They found her along with two other young hens who had fallen off of a transport truck en route to slaughter. Helen's companions did not survive the escape.
Somehow, Helen survived. Her rescuers reached out to their vegan friends, who put them in touch with us at Triangle Chance for All. We are a small non-profit organization outside of Chapel Hill, and we run a "microsanctuary" that focuses on chickens. We rushed to pick Helen up in order to provide her with whatever care she would most certainly need.
When our avian vet began to treat Helen, we realized the scope of her injuries, including a bad laceration on her neck, a compound fracture of one wing, a fracture in the other wing, a shattered leg, and other physical trauma, on top of being starved and dehydrated (which is common practice during transport).