Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

An animal lover has saved 4,000 chickens from certain death after raising GBP2,400 in 36 hours to stop the truck that was coming to take them to the slaughterhouse. Sanctuary owner Mel James clucked into action when she answered the Facebook appeal of a local farmer who was re-homing 1,000 hens at the end of their egg-laying careers. However, Mel discovered the farmer had a further 3,000 chickens that were destined for the food chain as part of a contract with a haulage firm.

The dedicated animal lover, who had decided to take on as many chickens as she could through her sanctuary, became determined to take in all 4,000.

Commercial laying hens are only kept until 72 weeks old when egg production and quality declines. The 43-year-old said: "The farmer told me if I wanted to save more than 1,000 then I would have to save all 4,000 because he had to supply a certain quota to fulfil his contract. "I already had enough money for the first 1,000 hens but now I needed to find another GBP2,400 to save the other 3,000.

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

"The farmer said this would have to be sorted in the next couple of days as he would need to let the contractor know.

"My mum always says I act first and think later and I just blurted out that I would do it - I would take them all. "I then had a moment when I had to think about what I'd set myself up for and how I was supposed to do it."

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Mel, who has seven cats and three dogs, started a Go Fund Me page to raise the GBP2,400 for 3,000 chickens required to stop the truck. The farmer was charging 80p a chicken and, amazingly, she raised the whole lot in 36 hours.

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Mel, who runs Ani-Mel Haven Animal Sanctuary in the small seaside town of Silloth, Cumbria, said: "The pressure was really on so I did a big push on social media.

"The response was amazing. We got donations from all over this country and all over the world - even Barbados and the United States. "One person donated GBP1,000 and another donated GBP700."

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Next the pressure was on to sell the chickens and transport them.

She enrolled help from another sanctuary owner, Emma Kelt of the Maryport charity Forever Friends, who helped with deliveries. Mel, whose boyfriend, Kevin Murdoch, 49, helps out with the animals, has been selling the chickens for GBP1 each. She added: "They have sold so well that we only have 250 left."

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

"We did get some people saying they were from a slaughterhouse and we refused to sell to them, because, of course, that was defeating the object.

"We had some complaints about selling them for GBP1 but we had to add that extra 20p for us to cover transport costs." The only downside to Mel's mission is that usually she saves a turkey every year but she has not had a chance so far, being so busy with the chickens.

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Luckily for Mel, the farmer is now retiring - so she won't have to do this again. Mel said: "The farmer has been great throughout all this.

"He has really helped us and been patient, waiting for our fundraising and even housing a lot of the hens until we found them homes."

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Mel was raised an animal lover as her dad, Bill, now 73, would often rescue sick animals. She turned this into a career for herself and houses her sanctuary on the grounds of her dad's garden centre business. Mel rescues any abused, neglected and abandoned animals, birds, waterfowl and wildlife.

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

She has taken two of the hens into her own home as she couldn't bear to sell them all and has named them Audrey Henburn and Albert Eggstein.

She said: "I love all animals, you get to see they all have their own personalities. "I am not a vegetarian but I don't think I could eat a chicken again after going through this."

Woman saves 4,000 chickens from death after raising £2,400 to stop slaughterhouse truck

Mel is always looking for donations to her charity and is currently looking to build a therapy centre. If you wish to donate, visit:  www.ani-melhaven.co.uk[1]

If you have adopted a chicken, here is a list of possible names:

Amelia Egghart
Attila the Hen
Chicken Little
Cluck Rogers
Chick Norris
Goldie Hen
Hen Solo
Henneth Paltrow
Princess Lay-a
Yolko Ono

References

  1. ^ www.ani-melhaven.co.uk (www.ani-melhaven.co.uk)

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