“It’s so easy to laugh, it’s easy to hate … it takes strength to be gentle and kind”
When I first had the idea of creating Plant Based on a Budget, I thought it was going to be a small blog where I compiled easy, inexpensive recipes to share exclusively with my family. Instead, I am proud that it has become a resource for those on fixed incomes looking to eat healthier, for people looking to embrace a compassionate diet, and everyone in between. Our audience represents such a wide range of people: ethnically, socially, economically, etc — and diversity is absolutely beautiful to me.
Whether you’ve come to Plant Based on a Budget (or as some AP interns like to call it, P-Bob) for health, weight loss, interest in fresh food or for ethical reasons, I still want convey our original message: eating a healthy, plant-based diet is easy and accessible. Despite my family’s strong preference for our unhealthy lard-filled Mexican food, I have sustained as a vegan for five years. I eat regular ol’ food and I’m a normal (whatever that means) girl doin’ normal thangs. I love swing dancing and karaoke, cookin’ with friends, listening to too much 2Pac and Morrissey, sunsets, long walks on the beach… You see? Normal.
Although, sometimes I find myself in situations some may consider unusual. Unusually beautiful, I say! For example (this is the reason of my post — I tricked ya, sorry), yesterday I experienced one of the most fulfilling moments in my life. Back story: A little over a month ago, I was part of Animal Place’s rescue of 3,000 hens. For weeks we planned the logistics of the rescue, and for days we pulled those thin, sickly hens from their tiny battery cages. There were three birds stuffed into cages the size of two sheets of printer paper. They were unable to feel sunlight, to feel the earth, stretch their wings. The hens had been in the cages for two years, infested with lice, with three feet of feces piled beneath them. Their living conditions and the fact that there were other hens being gassed by the farmers nearby, easily made it one of the most horrific scenes I’ve witnessed.
How did we go about rescuing them? The farm contacted Animal Place because they were “depopulating”, which basically means gassing and tossing them into landfill because they were no longer producing quality eggs.
Anyway, on to happier stuff — I watched them touch the earth and extend their wings for the first time. Have you ever seen a baby walk for the first time? It brought that kind of joy to me. Except better, because these little ladies had lived a life of suffering and were finally able to do the most basic things in life .. like walk and move their wings.
Finally, the usual part! Animal Place was able to save an additional 1,000 birds (they were originally supposed to save 2,000) because a private donor offered to fund a transport of the hens to east coast sanctuaries. Yesterday, we loaded up the girls at Animal Place Rescue Ranch in Vacaville, CA and brought them to Hayward, CA where they’d begin their flight to freedom. It warmed my heart to see my co-workers, volunteers and media share compassion for the hens we worked hard to rescue. I’m beyond proud of all the hard work that was put into the rescue, the rehabilitation of the hens and their monumental transport.
It is so important for me to help people understand that hens (and all other animals) are deserving of the same compassion animal companion dogs and cats receive. As I mentioned, this is one of the most beautiful experiences in my life — to some, it may seem like a joke and they may not understand why my compassion extends to all life or why people would invest energy or money into this cause, but I encourage those people to remember that, “it takes strength to be gentle and kind” … and especially to be understanding. I’d even say, “Try a little tenderness!” <3
The #hensonaplane rescue has received international media attention: from the NY Times, to The Guardian, etc. If you’re interested in reading more about it you can take your pick: http://pinterest.com/animalplace/hensonaplane/