Heidi StephensonMonique, the sailing hen
Animal Rights Poetry By Heidi Stephenson From All-Creatures.org

Poems of compassion dedicated to the non-human animals who share this planet with us and the people who fight for them.

Monique, the sailing hen
By Heidi Stephenson

“I knew she was the one straight away. She was only about four or five months old then, and had never left the Canary Islands. I didn't speak any Spanish and she didn't speak any French, but we got along…She follows me everywhere, and doesn't create any problems. All I need to do is shout 'Monique!' and she will come to me, sit on me, give me company. She is amazing. Compared with people, she doesn't complain at all.” (Guirec Soudee)

Monique sails the seven seas.
She’s a water babe,
A skilled swimmer,
A surfer chick.

She’s an intrepid
White horse rider;
A fearless windsurfer,
An avian paddle-boarder.

She’s an arctic explorer,
Not “poulet” - but pioneer.
A Stella Maris,
A star sailor.

Her bird brain
Is considerable.
Her memory,
Her ability to learn…

She mucks in.
Her fair-feathered friendship,
…And mind-saving.

She’s a global ambassador.
Tweeted on Twitter,
She pecks at stubborn hearts,
Cracks open closed minds.

She’s a glorious Gallus gallus.
A solar-savvy, sun bather:
A chicken roasting
On her own terms.

Her wish bone
Is for freedom.
Her feathers are ruffled
Only by the breeze now.

Her ‘drumsticks,’
Were made for dancing;
Her sea legs, her chicken’s feet,
For rolling with the swell.

Her wings re-balance her.
They will never drip
(Like those of her poor sisters)
With blood, with bar-be-cue sauce.

Her saucepan is not
For boiling up
Her body parts -
But for boating!

She enjoys waves of brine,
Instead of pain.
An ocean of bliss,
Instead of suffering…

The wildness
Of the high, high seas,
Instead of darkness
And enslavement.

She’s a hen with a mission.
“We need a sea change,”
She tells us, with her keen eyes.
“We need to turn the tide.”

“Take stock!
Listen to these nuggets of wisdom!
Pluck up the courage, and see!
All RIP tides must turn now.”


“We need fowl play -
Not foul play!
We need boosters
For roosters!”

The chicken,
And the egg.
As it was,
In the Beginning…

Monique has over 29,000 followers on Facebook.

The chicken and the egg – facts and figures

  • Almost all chickens are factory farmed.
  • Over 50 billion chickens are killed each year across the globe. The majority are just 7 weeks old.
  • 6 billion of those killed are egg layers.
  •  Having laid over a trillion eggs, after just a year, they are killed for their efforts.
  • 6 billion newborn male chicks are additionally ground up alive (“macerated”) or dumped into plastic bags and left to suffocate because they cannot lay eggs.
  • Left to their own devices, chickens have a natural life span of 10 years.

The life of a layer

  • The females have the tips of their beaks seared off with a hot iron to prevent the stress-induced pecking of other hens.
  •  They are crammed 5-7 birds into wire-mesh cages the size of a newspaper page stacked on top of one another.
  • The birds must stand on a sloping wire-mesh floor, which cuts their feet, while the wire-mesh walls rub off their feathers and bruise their skin.
  •  When the birds are about 15 months old, they are ‘force-molted,’ which entails keeping them in low lighting and feeding them a low-calorie diet for 7 to 14 days. This stresses their systems and increases egg production for about 6 more months.
  •  Afterwards, they are sent to slaughter.

2017 marks 70 terrible years since ‘factory farming’ was officially introduced in the UK. 2017 is also the Chinese Year of the Rooster.

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