#iSTANDfor: Animal rights!


By Jacy Reese

#iSTANDfor: Animal Rights

The #iSTANDfor campaign brings voices together across the globe in public dialogue. This is a crucial step for building a better world, but we must remember to include all voices, even those who can’t participate in our political process.

One night last March, I got to know some of these voices on an eight-hour drive through the Northern California mountains. I was on a rescue with Animal Place, a sanctuary for farmed animals. Animal Place rescues “spent” hens that the egg industry would otherwise kill at only a fraction of their natural lifespan because their egg production slows down with age.

These hens were from a picturesque farm with a small, mobile chicken coop on a large green pasture. These farms make up less than 1% of the egg industry, but despite the lack of cages and other “factory farm” issues, these girls were still tormented with health problems. They suffered from rampant lice and worm infestations, fluid-filled bellies due to liver issues, and blindness caused by an outbreak of Marek’s disease.

I could go on, but it’s more important to tell you about the voices I heard on our drive that night, bringing the hens to the sanctuary. The 800 birds in the warm van gently purred all night, just like cats! They only spoke up when we talked too loudly in the front seats, quickly remind us it was bedtime with an assertive bwok bwok bwok.

Animals aren’t voiceless. We just don’t listen closely enough. This is why I stand up and speak out for organizations like The Humane League, who are campaigning not only to help reduce these animals’ suffering — securing commitments from food giants like General Mills and Costco to adopt higher welfare policies — but to help us transition to an animal-free food system that's better for animals and humans. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for animals, and a burgeoning movement of activists and entrepreneurs is helping us reach it.