On May 15, 2011, an exuberant throng of vegetarians, many wielding signs and more than a few in full costume, marched through New York City in its fourth annual Veggie Pride Parade. Proud proponents of compassionate eating from near and far hit the streets excited to convene with their veggie brethren. Farm Sanctuary Placement Coordinator Colin Henstock, who had traveled from our New York Shelter in Watkins Glen for the event, had an especially important rendezvous on his agenda — not with a farm animal advocate but with a farm animal.
Shortly before the parade day, Colin was contacted by a women living in the Bronx. In a park across the street from her home, she had come across a loose hen. Having in years past discovered dead chickens and other items associated with Santeria in her neighborhood, the woman believed that this chicken had likely escaped from people who intended to kill her in a ritual sacrifice. Whatever the bird’s provenance, she was lucky to have crossed the path of this particular area resident. The devoted animal lover gathered up her new feathered friend, Fiesta, and brought her to safety. Since the woman was caring for a semi-feral cat, she could not keep the hen in her home, but her landlord was able to offer the hen refuge in his basement. Though warm and secure, however, this refuge was not ideal for a chicken, so all parties were thrilled when, on the day of the parade, Fiesta had her meeting with Colin and departed the big city to begin her new life as a sanctuary bird.
Though she was initially pale and thin and requiring treatment for parasites, Fiesta quickly began to flourish. This sweet and friendly hen grows ever healthier and more beautiful. Witnessing her transformation, and knowing that she will be forever safe from harm, fills us with veggie pride every day.