Over 1,000 rescued Bay Area hens to find new home in NY

September 5, 2013 1:21:00 AM PDT
More than 1,000 hens headed for certain death are instead going to live out the rest of their lives in animal sanctuaries on the East Coast. However, the story of how they're getting there is raising some eyebrows. The chickens traveled from Vacaville to Hayward where Wednesday night they flew on a chartered cargo plane to Elmira, New York.

We all know chickens can't fly, but all 1,150 of these hens flew out of the Hayward Executive Airport all the way to the East Coast where they'll be adopted.

"These hens lived a life of misery before we were able to free them," said Marji Beach from Animal Place of Vacaville.

Beach says they were rescued from a California egg laying farm. The chickens are kept in battery cages and only live for about two years before they're euthanized.

"The egg farmer actually contacted us and said, 'We'd like to work with you,'" said Beach.

Animal Place rescued 3,000 hens, but could only care for about 2,000 of them. The only sanctuaries that would take them are on the East Coast. Another 1,800 are still up for adoption in Vacaville.

"And this donor said, 'I'll pay for it. I'll pay to fly them out there.' So none of this money is coming from Animal Place. It's all being donated by one very generous person who cares a lot about chickens," said Beach.

That generous donor paid about $50,000 just to fly these chickens across the country. However, Animal Place says it sees chickens as unique individuals worth rescuing.

"We thought it was a little bogus. We were like, 'This can't be real. Who would want to fly some chickens?' You know," said Gerson Palma from AirPartner Inc.

But it was no joke and the air cargo companies agreed to treat these lucky hens like passengers. They even made a sacrifice at no extra charge.

When we asked Capt. Craig Ciaffioni from Ameriflight how his plane smells, he replied, "Well, like a barn yard."

It'll be a seven hour flight and they won't be able to roll down the windows.


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