*** Warning: This article contains distressing images. ***

A chicken shed on a Victorian egg farm was engulfed in flames yesterday morning. A local news outlet reported the blaze, making mention of the CFA’s ‘asset protection’ efforts for the owners of the property. No mention around the condition of the 40,000 individuals inside was made.

Farm Transparency Project investigators attended the scene to search for any survivors and document the aftermath. What they found was truly disturbing; all estimated 40,000 hens perished in the blaze, their charred bodies littered throughout the remains of the shed. 

Sadly, this story is all too familiar, it has happened before, and it will inevitably happen again and again, until we move away from the commercialised farming of animals.

It is hard to fathom the absolute horror and agony these complex, emotional, sentient beings experienced in their final moments, the heartbreaking scenes captured by Farm Transparency Project investigators truly speak for themselves.

But how can we ensure this doesn’t happen again..? Well, we can’t – unless we begin to move away from this current system of exploitation, which views animals as nothing more than ‘assets’ or ‘units of production’, not thinking and feeling individuals worthy of respect and dignity. 

Confinement is an inherent characteristic of industrialised farming, and times of disaster are no exception. Time and time again we see animals left behind in factory farms to perish in blazes or drown in flooding – their loss of life only measured by the profits lost to businesses that seek to exploit them. After all, these animals are destined to die anyway, the only difference in the case of disasters – is economic loss.

So long as we continue to deny animals personhood, autonomy, freedom and rights: They will continue to be forcibly impregnated. They will continue to have their babies stolen from them. They will continue being mutilated. They will continue to be branded. They will continue being confined. They will continue being sent into gas chambers. They will continue being brutally slaughtered at a fraction of their natural lifespan. They will continue to burn. They will continue to drown. They will continue to suffer.

It is time for us to repair our fractured relationship with the natural world and the animals with whom we share it with. Their lives literally depend on it, and almost poetically, so do ours. The survival of us all is intimately linked, and can only be achieved through collective liberation, for humans, non-human animals and the planet alike.

Together, let’s dismantle the systems that allow for precious life to be commodified or viewed as ‘less than’, and create a future built on compassion, respect, community and love.

Alix Livingstone

Alix Livingstone is the Campaign Director of Kindness Project. Working in animal rights for the last four years, she has spent this time investigating, researching, writing, speaking, and educating on the different ways in which animals are exploited, particularly in our food system. Alix has a particular passion for advocating in the space where wildlife and farmed animals intersect and her work focuses closely on this area. Alix holds a Bachelor in Education and worked with children for a number of years whilst volunteering for animal protection groups, before having the privilege of working in animal rights full-time. Alix believes that the only way to dismantle the animal industrial complex is through advocating for all who are harmed by it; humans, non-human animals, and the planet alike. Alix trusts that through building community, empowering its members, and forging systemic solutions, a better world for all can be discovered.

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