Please Speak Up for Birds

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My name is Kelly - I’m a bird rescuer and rehabilitator. It isn’t often that bird lovers have the ability to influence one of the largest companies in the US. But right now, Audubon Florida has that opportunity.

Audubon Florida is an organization dedicated to sustainability and conservation of our natural world, with a focus on the many bird species in Florida. Unfortunately, Audubon Florida is associated with Darden, a company deeply entrenched in an animal cruelty scandal.

Darden is the parent company of Olive Garden and other restaurant chains. Each year, Darden purchases millions of chickens from some of the worst factory farms imaginable. These unsustainable farms force chickens to live in waste-covered sheds, and force them to live through egregious abuse and neglect. Audubon societies do not usually protect chickens, but these birds are no less deserving of our consideration.

Chickens are nurturing mothers who sing to their babies. They can use more than 30 different vocalizations to communicate with each other and can recognize the faces of humans and chickens alike. They have a strong desire to perform natural behaviors like foraging, roosting, dust bathing, and preening.

Darden purchases chickens from factory farms that don’t allow for any of these basic needs. Instead birds are bred to grow so unnaturally large that they can’t stand up. They are forced live their lives sitting in their own feces and breathe in the fumes from the waste of thousands of other chickens who are all densely packed into the same shed. They are sent to terrifying slaughterhouses where they are hung upside down and electrocuted. As they flail and flap in terror, many miss the automatic blade meant to slit their throat so they are completely conscious when they are plunged into the boiling water of defeathering tanks.

This extreme suffering is completely unnecessary and many of the largest companies in the US have already committed to commonsense welfare standards for the birds in their supply chains, but Darden refuses to follow suit.

Darden’s support of cruel and unsustainable factory farms does not align with Audubon Florida’s important work. Audubon Florida has an incredible opportunity to advocate for millions of birds suffering in factory farms. I hope you’ll join me in encouraging them to take a stand and use their influence for the good of animals who are too often ignored.

 



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