The National Chicken Council calculates that about 1.25 billion chicken wings will be consumed this Sunday, February 1, when much of America will be watching the biggest football game of the year.
When you see a platter piled high with wings, remember that every pair of wings represents an individual chicken. Here’s what his life was probably like in today’s age of factory farming:
Could barely fly The chicken industry has bred chickens to be up to three times bigger than they used to be, but that weight means they often can’t walk without pain, never mind get off the ground easily. Slower-growing, healthier chickens can perch and even fly up into low branches of trees.
Couldn’t balance Some chickens are so incapacitated by their ungainly bodies that they have to use their wings for balance (like crutches) to shuffle to a source of food or water. The practice is sometimes called “wing walking.”
Could barely move Imagine a football field full of chickens, from one end zone to the other. This is what a typical industrial chicken shed on a factory farm is like: Tens of thousands of birds are packed into giant, windowless structures, living in their own waste. This causes open sores on their chests and feet that can act as gateways to infection. With often less than one square foot of floor space each, birds have no ability to perch, forage or even move easily.
It doesn’t have to be this way! The ASPCA’s Truth About Chicken campaign is encouraging companies to use more humane practices to finally address the suffering stemming from unnatural growth rates and poor conditions.
When an animal survives a harrowing ordeal, it makes it that much more meaningful when they find a loving home. For a tiny Maltese/Yorkie named Chali, a freezing January morning set the stage for a warm, cozy future, and we can’t help but think that his “Happy Tail” was written in the cards. Here is his story.
On January 5, 2014, Chali was found wandering as a stray in Crotona Park in the Bronx, New York. It was the height of the “Polar Vortex,” and temperatures that day hovered in the low 20s. A Good Samaritan spotted Chali lost in the snow and brought him to the ASPCA. At only seven pounds, the four-year-old pup was shy, shivering, and in desperate need of a home.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Chali received a medical exam and was deemed healthy. He was soon neutered and placed into our office foster program so he could recover from his surgery in the care of our staff until he was ready for adoption.
While all of this was happening, an ASPCA employee named Missy G. was working on plans for the ASPCA Bergh Ball, an annual fundraising event in New York City. A member of our Special Events Department, Missy was coordinating a photo shoot for a custom deck of playing cards featuring adoptable animals from the ASPCA. By chance, the day of the photo shoot was the same day Chali came to the Adoption Center.
“I picked him up and brought him to the shoot,” Missy recalls. “He was the first dog we shot and he ended up being the Ace of Clubs.” While Missy worked on the project over the next few weeks, she continued to visit Chali, and slowly but surely, he stole her heart. “On the last day of shooting, I decided I couldn’t just leave him behind and I brought him home with me,” she says.
Missy changed Chali’s name to Rocky, and in the year since his adoption, the pair has become inseparable. He still comes to the ASPCA office for regular visits. “From the moment he walked into our home, it was like he had always been there,” Missy beams. “He was the perfect addition to our family and I love him more than anything.”
It’s hard to believe that anyone could abandon a dog like Rocky, but it’s clear that he is finally where he was always meant to be. He may have been the “Ace of Clubs” in our deck of cards, but to Missy, he’s the King of Hearts.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make miracles happen. You can be their miracle. You can help find loving homes for dogs and cats, you can provide vaccinations, food, and spay/neuter surgeries, and you can help protect animals from abuse and cruelty. But they can’t wait another minute.
What do you do you when your city is covered in a blanket of white snow? Adopt a black cat, of course! Georgia R. of Manhattan adopted Juno (also known as Milo), a three-year-old domestic shorthair cat, Tuesday morning at the ASPCA Adoption Center. He was the first ASPCA animal to be adopted since Winter Storm Juno struck the Northeast on Monday.
Georgia had been thinking about getting a cat for a couple of months. When she awoke this morning in the wake of the snowfall, she knew today was the day, and she walked 10 snowy blocks from her home to the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City.
Georgia grew up with two cats and missed having a feline friend. She spotted the 15-lb. Juno laid back in her enclosure and immediately took to her. Upon meeting, Juno began purring, head-butting, and getting cozy in her lap. That’s when Georgia decided he was “the one.”
“You just know when it’s right,” she said.
Congratulations to this new duo. There’s nothing better than a pet to keep you snug and warm during these cold winter months!
Exciting changes are in store for New York City’s shelter pets this year!
Last week, the New York City Health Department and Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) announced several big changes that will go a long way toward improving conditions and outcomes for homeless animals—including a new, $5 million adoption facility. The organization will receive more than $8 million in City capital funding for improvements this year.
AC&C is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the country, taking in more than 30,000 animals from New York City’s five boroughs every year. In partnership with the City, AC&C will use the new resources to design and construct the new adoption center next to its full-service Manhattan shelter. The building will be dedicated to encouraging adoption of the shelter’s dogs, cats and rabbits.
The new funds will also go toward increasing the organization’s fleet of mobile adoption vans in Queens and the Bronx to help more animals in their own neighborhoods. Resources will also be put toward heating, air conditioning and ventilation system upgrades at AC&C’s Brooklyn Care Center to help reduce the spread of shelter diseases.
The ASPCA has invested over $1 million in grant funding for AC&C infrastructure over the past five years, and we provide continued support through the provision of spay/neuter surgeries for the organization’s shelter animals, resulting in the highest release rate the animal sheltering system has seen since its inception. We’re thrilled that this additional funding will ensure AC&C can continue to provide animals with quality care and expand its adoption efforts to help even more animals across New York City find permanent, loving homes.
"The ASPCA’s work with AC&C over the past several years to drastically reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption numbers demonstrates how much we can accomplish for New York City’s homeless animals through diligent work and effective collaborations,” said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio, [New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene] Commissioner Bassett, and AC&C’s Executive Director Risa Weinstock for recognizing the value of investing in our sheltering infrastructure with the goal of ending animal suffering across the city.”
We will continue to support Councilmember Paul Vallone’s efforts to establish full-service shelters in Queens and the Bronx, which will be crucial moving forward to make New York City a place where no adoptable animal dies needlessly.
To learn more about the ASPCA’s work in New York City, please visit www.aspca.org/NYC.