On Wednesday, the Northern California animal sanctuary Animal Place will airlift — yes, you read that right: airlift — 1,150 elderly laying hens from Hayward, Calif., to Elmira, N.Y., in an Embraer 120 turbo-prop.
The price? $50,000.
Right. So obviously, this isn’t the most efficient way to spend your chicken-helping money. It didn’t take me very long to think of some alternatives: For example, you could couple all 1,150 hens off and buy each pair its own home. You could feed 367 chickens fancy organic food for an entire year. You could feed 157 people the very fanciest, most coddled, free-rangest, organic-est eggs ever for a year. You could buy flocks of chicks for 2,500 farmers in the developing world through the charity Heifer International.
Don’t get me wrong — it’s not that I think that these soon-to-be-airborn hens don’t deserve a better life. They come from an undisclosed California battery cage egg operation, and as most people know by now, that is no picnic. Animal Place’s Marji Beach explained to me that once laying hens ... Read more