Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bushwick Hipster Animal Torture Farm

I was cheered to see a Community Garden open up on Broadway in Bushwick, close to my house. Bushwick is almost totally devoid of greenery and parks, so this was a very welcome addition. I was also happy to see that there were some chickens and ducks in the garden. I adore birds and I love to spend time feeding them, playing with them and watching them. Two days ago I insisted on bringing Jason to the Community Garden.

Unfortunately, we realized that there were also roosters in the garden with the hens and ducks. In a small garden, they had included 4 or 5 roosters! This is terrible because, as Everybody Knows, Roosters fight one another when in close proximity. Sickeningly, we began to realize that some of the chickens were being plucked and bullied by the Alpha rooster to the point where we couldn't tell if they were chickens or roosters. One poor bird had it's neck feathers plucked out so that it looked like a turkey. Another had patches of feathers pulled out of his back and was walking around with his head down, and hiding behind a bush 90% of the time to prevent further attacks. But the saddest sight of all was a chicken who had been so badly plucked and pecked that it's poor back was a mass of raw sores. The poor bird approached us, but it was too close to a group of hens belonging to the Alpha rooster because the garden was so small. We watched, horrified, as he(she?) was chased into a corner by the huge Alpha rooster, who then stood on his back and dug his sharp claws into his back, aggravating his sores, and pecked him even more. I wanted to rip the chicken wire open and take him home with me!

I was horrified further to see the caretakers casually walk in amongst the birds and walk to the garden in back of the chicken coops. One man stood two feet from the injured, bleeding bird and did not try to help him, acted as though he could not see his suffering and pain.

This is a typical Hipster thing to do- an idealistic plan, not thought out, that leads to suffering and pain like the idiotic bike lanes that caused young, not very smart students to get hit by cars.

Can anybody open their heart and home to a chicken or rooster or two or three who need a home? If I can get someone to say they'll foster them or give them a forever home, I might be able to rescue them from this life of misery that is so sadly on display in my neighborhood.

Here are some pics I took with my iPhone:

Community Garden Of Pain And Torture:

This poor rooster? chicken? had a plucked neck and looked like a Turkey.

This unfortunate bird was plucked on his back and spent 90% of the time hiding behind a bush, while the other chickens, ducks and roosters wandered freely.

This bird broke my heart. I didn't even know if it was a rooster or a hen because his comb had been mutilated and all his back feathers plucked out. His back had many red and pink sores. I wanted to take him away immediately! While we were there, he was attacked again in front of us. Won't someone help save him? Contact me at if you have a place for him to be fostered or live forever safely.

This bird was attacked again while we were there, we had to watch as a larger rooster stood on his(her?) back and dug his claws into his injured and bleeding back and brutally pecked him. This was not a lovely day in the garden, how could they let this go on? It's unconscionable.

Hall of Shame: This guy stands there laughing with his friends two feet away from the bleeding, injured and plucked chicken. He does not even try to separate him from the constant attacks or give any attention to his wounds. Whoever you are, guy-do you want this on your conscience? SHAME on you!

This is a link to the Bushwick City Farm. Their web address is Write to them and let them know that we don't appreciate ignorance that leads to animal cruelty in Brooklyn. Their website boasts some hipster jargon: "THE FARMS CREATE A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE ACTIVE MODELS OF RESPONSIBLE FOOD PRODUCTION." We see how "responsible" you really are with the vulnerable animals in your care. The site sports pictures of happy, healthy chickens and roosters, but the real thing is a horror show.

****UPDATE****** Monday, Sept. 12*******

Ok, I was contacted by a woman who says that she is one of the people who run the Bushwick City Farm.  She said that the roosters and chickens come from hatcheries where they are kept in deplorable conditions and this is where the majority of the plucking happens, so that when they get to the Bushwick City Farm they already look like that, and they then heal when they are there.

However, it still did not make me reassured they are ok, because birds have a pecking order and peck and abuse the weakest, sickest birds.    Putting a weak, sick bird in a crowded situation with huge, healthy and aggressive roosters and chickens is pretty cruel.   They will be plucked, pecked and chased.   Even if the original damage did not happen at Bushwick City Farm, under these conditions it will certainly continue if the bird is seen to be at the bottom of the pecking order.  Wouldn't you want to put the weakest, sickest and most injured birds in a seperate pen in order to protect them from this tendency of birds to target the sick and weak for abuse?

She then told me that the rooster standing on the hurt chicken's back and holding it's head down was mating- this is how they mate, it was not an attack.  However, the chicken tried hard to get away and seemed terrified and in agony when the claws of the larger rooster dug into her back covered with sores and plucked of feathers and her head was held down by his sharp beak.  Wouldn't you then want to put her somewhere the rooster couldn't get her until she healed, knowing her condition?  Is it humane to let this go on?

Most cruel of all, the woman then told me that even though "it was sweet" that I found a home for the hurt birds, they had planned a slaughter for the birds and were going to give the meat away to the community.  Ok, I get it.  It's a farm, and they want to raise the meat.  Even so, I feel so sad for the hurt chicken's life- plucked, pecked and abused your whole life, then slaughtered even though someone cared enough to try to give them a chance at a good rest of their lives.   You'd think someone might say "hey, let's give this one a break.  Why not."  I guess not.

So even though I was given an explanation, I still feel that this is a torturous place  for these poor birds to end up, and it's wrong to have any of the chickens or roosters living in fear and pain constantly, even if they will be slaughtered soon.  I also feel that it's heartless to disregard the lives of the weakest ones and not let them go to what could have been a loving home.  Putting them on display like this will naturally lead to feelings of emotional attachment to specific birds- after all, this isn't a farm and we are not farming folk, and we do not casually disregard live animals personalities or pain just because they are earmarked to become food later on.

A good article on chicken behavior and chickenspecking one another to death.