May 20, 2020
Rescued US chickens transfer to charity place
Almost 1,000 chickens has been saved from an Iowa farm that has been killing its flock, and transferred to Animal Place via two chartered cargo planes as the COVID-19 outbreak cut demand for eggs, an animal rights group said, reported Reuters.
Farmers have killed off pigs and chickens as the pandemic shuts slaughterhouses and upends the food supply chain, leaving producers without markets for their animals, room to keep them or money to feed them.
Animal Place, a charity for unwanted farm animals, rescued the chickens over the weekend from an Iowa farm that was gassing some of its 140,000 birds because of the outbreak, Executive Director Kim Sturla said.
"It is a bright spot," she said. "There's so many struggling—human and non-human."
Animal Place typically brings animals to its Northern California refuge by truck from within the state, but received a donation to extend its reach to the Midwest at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, Sturla said. The group will make the chickens available for adoption after checking their health, she said.
Sturla declined to identify the farm in Iowa, the top US egg-producing state.
Egg prices have shattered after spiking as consumers stocked up at grocery stores at the start of state-imposed lockdowns in March. They averaged 89 cents per dozen on Friday in the Midwest, down from US$2.83 on April 10, according to USDA data.
About 22% of eggs go to restaurants, hotels or other food-service outlets, said Ken Klippen, president of the National Association of Egg Farmers.
"When you lose 22% of your market, it's painful," Klippen said. "That's what we're going through right now."