Animal rights activists took to ‘theft’ technique in creating awareness for their campaigns after pulling a fast one in a farm in Colorado USA.
When four people asked to hold some chickens at a Colorado farm this week, an 8-year-old girl readily agreed to assist.
She’s proud of the birds she helps raise, and she loves to teach people about them. Sunday’s event at the farm was no different, her mother said.
The little girl had no idea the adults would tuck three of the birds under their arms and walk off the farm, where a group of some 40 animal rights activists wearing matching T-shirts waited.
“I’m really rattled and unnerved,” said Kristin Ramey, who owns Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, Colo., with her husband, Larry. “They walked right onto my property and grabbed the birds. I don’t feel safe.”
Ramey said when she confronted members of animal rights group Denver Baby Animal Save and Direct Action Everywhere Colorado, they said, “We have taken your birds to a sanctuary, where they can be free.”
Aidan Cook, an animal rights activist, said he was at the farm Sunday and was one of the people who went on the property and removed birds.
Cook said the group targeted Long Shadow Farm in part because it markets itself as a place where animals are treated humanely, given free range over pastures, fed appropriate diets and slaughtered away from large, so-called factory farms.
“We seek out places that are selling what we call the ‘humane myth’ or ‘humane lie,’ ” he said. “It’s this idea that if you treat them the right way then there is an ethical way to exploit and kill animals. … We want to show that no matter how well you treat someone during their life, that doesn’t give you the right to kill them.”
After the group took the chickens, Ramey contacted the Larimer County (Colo.) Sheriff’s Office, which is now investigating several felony allegations including trespassing, attempted theft of livestock and theft of livestock, said sheriff’s office spokesman David Moore.
Moore said he could not release more information Monday because deputies were still investigating the incident.
Cook said he has not been contacted by investigators but said people who took chickens from the farm Sunday knew they were assuming some legal risk.
The Rameys raise lambs, chickens, ducks and turkeys on their six-acre farm west of U.S. Highway 287 in Berthoud.
The animals are pasture-raised and the farm does not debeak chickens — nor does it clip their wings, toenails or spurs, Ramey said.
Poultry birds are killed on site, which Ramey said eliminates the need to pack them onto trucks and move them to another location, an experience that can be stressful for the birds.
“They get to be the animals that they’re meant to be,” she said. “And we are meat eaters. I respect folks that don’t want to eat meat just as much as I hope they respect the fact that I do.”
The farm offers classes — like the one offered Sunday — that teach people how to kill chickens using methods Ramey describes as humane and respectful of the animal.
“It’s very different than the large-scale operations,” she said, adding that she believes a post on social media about her event made the farm vulnerable to the animal rights group.
“(Some people) started sending nasty emails, and then it all went away,” she said. “I figured they were just armchair warriors.”
Ramey said she hopes to get the chickens back — one of them belonged to one of her clients and is a rooster that will have trouble withstanding a cold Colorado winter. The two hens that were taken also have been exposed to a contagious respiratory disease, and she said that could put the other birds at the sanctuary at risk.
“It was really actually quite irresponsible to march onto a farm and steal animals because you’re taking illnesses with you,” she said.
Activists from the group broadcast a live video on Facebook after what they called a rescue of the chickens. They held hands, said their names and explained why they felt what they were doing was important.
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