By Michelle Reeves
It's with a broken heart that I share the news of the passing of a friend. I spoke with her every day and she changed the course of my life forever. She taught me that there's no such thing as "just an animal", there are only fellow beings who deserve respect.
I'll miss her standing on my foot every time I did the washing. I'll miss seeing her lying upside down in a dust bath, enjoying the rays of sunshine. I'll miss seeing her scratch through our veggie patches. I'll miss her voice. I'll miss her sense of adventure and curiosity. I'll miss her cuddles and how she'd always fall asleep in my arms. I'll miss sharing a piece of toast with her in the morning. I'll miss her following me fearlessly into the dark garage, where none of the others were brave enough to follow. I'll miss saying goodnight to her, asleep on her bucket. I'll miss admiring her beautiful feathers and the way she always accepted new members of our family, feathered or not. I'll miss her smooth feathers and her scaly dinosaur feet. I'll miss her teaching our foster dogs that chickens are friends not food.
I don't know what she felt for me, I don't know what life is like from a chicken's perspective, but I loved her and I'm so grateful to have had so many years with her. To Bucket, my friend.
Bucket was the last survivor of the 3000 chooks in her egg laying shed. When she stopped producing eggs at a high enough rate she was put in a truck, along with all the other hens in her shed, and sent to the slaughter house to be made into pet meat. She escaped from the truck by flying through the truck walls. The farmer didn't care and thought the foxes would kill her. So she lived beside the road until she was rescued by Tom and brought home to the Central Coast of NSW to a family who treasured her every day afterwards. She happily followed everyone where ever they went. She loved her family, human, feathered and furred. She brought happiness and comfort with her. What a beautiful animal she was.
Half a billion chickens are killed in Australia every year. Suffering and death on this scale is impossible to comprehend. But we can understand the life of one chicken. Like all of her friends who were not so lucky, Bucket was an individual. Her joy of life was no different to the hens whose bodies are bought and sold for a few dollars in supermarkets. You too can save Bucket. Live vegan!.