Wednesday, 7 January 2015

How to Sponsor a Hen

How to Rescue Battery Hens 

Why bother about battery hens?

rescued battery hens
rescued battery hens
with British Hen Welfare Trust
There are currently around 16 million hens living in cramped conditions, each on larger than an A4 piece of paper - that's right, about the size of the letter. Even with the growing awareness and public outcry, battery hens and their eggs continue to find their way into our food chain, often hidden in processed foods and in restaurants. You may be among the millions of people who will only buy free range eggs for consumptions but you may also be unaware of how this inhumane industry continues to thrive hidden from public view.
The British Hen Welfare Trust was established around 2003 with the aim to increase public awareness, to rehome and rescue battery hens that would otherwise be slaughtered. They are also committed to encouraging UK to become producers of completely free range.
The Trust is a charity and so relies on donations. There are several ways you can become involved: you can take three or more hens and give them a good retirement home; you can campaign for better conditions for commercial hens or you can adopt a hen. For a very reasonable cost of under £20 you can adopt a hen and ensure care for it throughout its life. This makes a wonderful gift you can give all year round.

Sponsoring a Hen

When you sponsor your hen - you can pick one from the gallery of characters. When you adopt your bird you or the person you are gifting the adoption to will receive a certificate, the story and photos of your chosen hen, a car sticker to show the world you care, two blank greeting cards to spread the word and a six month update of how your bird is getting on. 
The present cost of adoption is £24 for an adult pack and £20 for a child pack -
that is under £2 a month 
that is 3 bottles of wine
that is one meal out for 4
that is life for a hen! 
Go to the British Hen Welfare Trust site to find out how.

Some rescued battery hens

Other ways to help

These suggestions are directly from the British Hen Welfare Trust 
There are several ways in which you can help battery hens indirectly:
  • By becoming a caring consumer
  • By word of mouth
  • By the written word
  • Egg on the free range farmers

    Many supermarkets acknowledge the growing trend towards ethical eating and as well as offering free range shell eggs, offer processed food products containing free range eggs or egg derivatives. Please support these hen friendly supermarkets, take the time to tell a member of staff that is why you choose to shop there or fill in a customer comments form so you can be sure that management get to hear your views.

    Start crowing about free range farming

    Talking about battery hens is one of the best ways to enlist support. Tell your family, friends and work colleagues they too can help take a battery hen out of her cage simply by selecting products that use eggs from welfare friendly sources.Of course, those of our supporters who offer free range retirement to some ex-bats have the perfect excuse to spread the word about their feathered family members; in fact left to their own devices, the hens will do a pretty good PR job themselves!

    Drop a LINE There are many ways in which you can help battery hens by writing to:
    • Your local MP
    • Your local supermarket
    • Food manufacturer
     templates for these letters are available on the website.

OR - you can knit a sweat for rescued hens! 

chickents in jumpers
chickens in jumpers - image from
Jo Eglen at the Little Hen Rescue Centre in Norwich, Norfolk

Read more:
Often when they are rescued the chickens have no feathers and need a sweater to keep them warm at night. The Little Hen Rescue Centre in Norwich has a pattern on their site on how to make these and the address to send them to:

Press Release from BHWT

"Charity description:
The British Hen Welfare Trust is a small, national charity that re-homes commercial laying hens, educates the public about how they can make a difference to hen welfare, and encourages support for the British egg industry. Its ultimate aim is to see consumers and food manufacturers buying only UK produced free-range eggs, resulting in a strong British egg industry where all commercial laying hens enjoy a good quality life.
What does the British Hen Welfare Trust do?
The charity re-homes commercial laying hens destined for slaughter and re-homes them predominantly as family pets. This pioneering initiative is hugely popular with the public and tens of thousands of hens are given the chance to enjoy a free range retirement each year.
The British Hen Welfare Trust uses a positive campaign strategy designed to educate the public and make them aware of their capability to make a difference to hen welfare through their shopping basket.

Facts & Figures

The statistics below show the growth in popularity of the British Hen Welfare Trust’s re-homing initiative.
Oct - Dec 2003
425 Hens Homed 
5,100 Hens Home
There are still approximately 16 million colony caged hens in the UK. As a result of our pioneering work increasing numbers of consumers now want high welfare as well as high quality.  Our positive impact has seen free range production grow into one of the most successful sectors of British agriculture and nearly half of all British laying hens have access outdoors.
The barren battery cage was banned in January 2012.
The British Hen Welfare Trust’s ultimate aim is to see all commercial laying hens enjoy a good quality free range life, but the charity is staunch in its support for the UK egg industry and as long as there is demand for caged eggs would rather see enriched caged egg production in the UK rather than imported caged eggs from countries where welfare is beyond our control.
Nearly 60% of caged eggs end up ‘hidden’ in processed food products, such as cakes, pasta, confectionery and ready meals. Caged eggs are also frequently ‘hidden’ in meals served at restaurants and other eating establishments.

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