A large group of hens flew into Elmira Corning Regional Airport early Thursday morning but by a different set of wings. For the first time ever, a private plane was charted to fly more than 1,100 hens from coast to coast. YNN's Carmella Mataloni tells us why these hens took flight.
ELMIRA, N.Y. -- More than 1,000 hens flew their cramped west coast coop for a chance at new life in New York State.
It was all part of a rescue plan put together to save the hens from gassing. The process is typically done after the birds' egg production slows down.
"They were released from a battery cage operation. Of all the birds in our food industry these birds are probably one of the most abused," said Susie Coston, Farm Sanctuary National Shelter Director.
The birds were part of a group of 3,000 hens that were saved from the egg farm by an organization called Animal Place. The group joined forces with Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen and nine other sanctuaries to fly the hens across the country by private plane.
Accorrding to directors, millions of hens are still being abused and are kept in cages that are too small.
"There are 280 million birds annually in these cages that get killed. So these birds are being killed just for egg production and their lives while they are alive are just horrendous. They live in battery cages, they get two years of life and then they are sent to slaughter. So we want to raise awareness about that issue," said Coston.
The animals were taken from the aircraft and loaded into trailers. Because of the long flight and the stress on the hens, some of them needed medical attention.
Volunteers who helped make the transport say the abuse of these birds is often overlooked.
"They are individuals and what most people don't know and never think about is that they are as much individuals as the cats and dogs that most of us have at home and it's harder for people to relate to," said Debra Roppolo, a volunteer.
Now, the hens will either be adopted or kept at the sanctuary but either way they will all get another chance to spread their wings.