Every year, businesses across the country cash in on Easter by selling baby rabbits, chicks, and ducklings as novelties. Hundreds are purchased impulsively and treated as disposable goods. Once buyers recognize that these “holiday accessories” have real, long-term needs for care and space, many of the animals are dumped at over-burdened municipal shelters, abandoned on city streets, or “released” into the wild to contend with harsh weather, predators, and starvation.
That bleak future was likely on the mind of a conscientious woman who happened upon three Khaki Campbell ducklings outside a feed store in Ithaca, New York. It was just after Easter, and the ducklings were quickly growing larger. Unable to sell them, the store was giving them away for free. Fearing they would fall into unscrupulous hands, the woman took the ducklings. She reached out to us, and we gladly welcomed the birds to our New York Shelter.
These youngsters — Chai, Masala, and Yerba Mate — have joined the ever-growing roster of Easter animals who have found refuge with us after the holiday has passed — including the six ducks we took in two years ago after they were abandoned in Elmira, New York. Like the animals we have rescued from the farming industry, these individuals are victims of a culture that treats animals as mere fodder for human profit, palate, or caprice.
Now, however, our three new residents will have a chance to refute that attitude. As they receive the specialized care and environment they need to flourish and grow into adulthood, these birds will teach visitors that every duck is an individual, a feeling being whose experiences are of far greater consequence than the fleeting whimsy of a surprise in an Easter basket.