Sorry, the Brit in me just couldn’t resist that pun.
The Flowhive is absolutely viral on Facebook these days and one can easily see why. To strip it down to its nuts and bolts, it is basically fresh honey on tap. Sounds lovely to most people, myself included, until I read an article that completely changed my mind. Especially when it mentioned one of the most repulsive terms in the English language: factory farming.
“Beekeeping involves respect, patience, and attention to the natural world. After years of beekeeping you become attentive to humidity every time you step outside, you start noticing which flowers bloom first, you stop hating pesky dandelions, and when it rains you think of the bees.”
The author of the article goes on to say:
Actually many hobby beekeepers will tell you that honey is not the main attraction. Stewardship is. And that entails checking on the health of the colony, observing brood patterns, examining the queen, making sure there aren’t any parasite or pathogens, and observing the honey flow so you know what to leave behind.
With an automatic honey appliance, you get none of that. So even though there’s a window and you can see the bees, you are clueless as to what is going on with the hive. As a friend recently stated, flow hive promotes the emotional detachment of factory farming.
And this is the best part:
There’s nothing like peeking into a hive, slowing down with reverence and care, observing these virgin sisters of toil. Bees work themselves to death why should we have their food so easy?
Reading this article absolutely changed my mind about the Flowhive and I must admit I see it very negatively now, especially with that association to factory farming. Because that is exactly how someone could market battery hens – don’t bother with the fuss of collecting eggs all over the garden, stick them in a cage and the eggs will roll down into a container every day for you.
Many vegans hate beekeeping, they feel we should not eat any animal products but I differ in this regard. I think that a lovely bond can develop between Humanity and Nature, a symbiotic relationship built on respect and care. But all too often we forget that, we either go from one extreme of not caring one bit about Nature, to mental self-flagellation and hatred for our cruel selfish species.
But the Flowhive? Let’s think carefully about this one.
One sunny morning I took my daughter for a stroll in the pram to explore our new surroundings and discovered this little gem tucked away in Krugersdorp, in the West Rand of Johannesburg. It is a sort of events venue/farm/stables and it is the last part that gets me really excited because I am a huge fan of horseriding and ride whenever I get the opportunity. With stables being so conveniently nearby to my house (literally next door!) I plan on purchasing a mare and riding more often.
The setting is a beautiful mix of golden yellow grass and shady green alcoves of trees and is really a lovely little place to go for a walk and to top it all off there are even a few farm animals in the mix to really add to the vibe. And of course all the animals are totally free range. The pigs have a massive shady pen that I saw one of the caretakers watering so they had a nice mud patch to roll in. Why don’t you compare conventional factory farming to this setup and tell me which is more animal friendly? How can we even farm any other way?
There are also a few cows contentedly munching cud and to be honest if I had such an awesome view I would also be pretty content! Further on the horses were trotting around.
These happy little cows have a much better life than the poor animals in feedlots, which is where most meat comes from
Battery hens produce 80% of the eggs used in the world (that was a conservative estimate but I’m sure it’s actually even more), and this kind of factory farming is one of the most abominable things man has done to Nature. For about a year, or half it’s life basically, the hens are kept in small cages and not allowed to dust bathe, forage for insects and greens, and generally just be free and happy. They are kept in cages only because it makes their price cheaper because you don’t need to spend so much time or manpower collecting eggs.
Pictured here is an actual battery hen operation by a small scale farmer in South Africa. They are overcrowded and small. All they can do is eat and lay eggs, for a year, until they are roughly bundled into cages and sent off to the abattoir or sold live in informal settlements. In the latter case, the hens are often without shade for the whole day, and with the current heatwave in the highveld at the moment this really half kills the hens.
An animal lover by the name of Cindy (thanks Cindy!) has adopted 2 battery hens and I have adopted the other 2 so a total of 4 hens were rehabilitated this weekend. It was horrible for me to see these poor animals with red diseased looking wounds by their undersides, and their bodies felt fragile and brittle. It really broke my heart I actually wore sunglasses just to hide the tears. I put them in their own outside room so that they could feel safe and gave them food and water and left the door open. When I checked up on them, they were outside and on the earth for the first time in their lives. They were able to walk around and nibble on grass and insects and other things, which they had never done before – they were literally fed the same thing every day for their whole lives.
The picture of them looks much better than the reality. Their feathers look white, and the pink bald spot looks not too bad. But actually the skin on the whole underside of their bodies was red and inflamed looking, and the feathers were matted, broken off, and filthy.
I have taken a picture of one of my hens, see how fluffy and clean her feathers look. And no bald patches at all, just thick healthy fluffy feathers.
The males suffer an almost worse state. They are usually not kept in cages (but still not free to go outside) but with many of them towards the end of their lives they are so heavy that their legs can’t cope and they spend a lot of time lying around, not roosting on perches as they would normally, and as a result they get inflamed and infected skin as you can see in this picture.
These are extreme cases but they are VERY common and ALL the animals suffer a high level of physical discomfort and unhygienic, unnatural conditions.
KFC, McDonalds, all chicken in Pick n Pay, Checkers, Spar etc, they all use chicken from factory farms that keep chickens from living happy, healthy lives.
Here you can see one hen and one rooster. This rooster’s legs are so powerful, he has no problem running around and he is HUGE, about 3kg I estimate. If we switch to free range meat we can have the same thing under better circumstances we just need to use our massive buying power, which is the only power in this world of money worship, to improve the lives of animals.
Compare this picture of my chickens having an absolute ball, and tell me:
WHICH DO YOU PREFER?
to get involved in adopting battery hens contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 818 0153 or whatsapp 071 930 5697. Hens usually cost R50 each.