VACAVILLE, CA - An anonymous donor is spending $43 per chicken to transport 1,150 rescued hens from Vacaville to New York.
The Animal Place sanctuary, which obtained the hens from a commercial egg producer, coordinated the $50,000 airlift on a chartered cargo plane leaving Hayward Wednesday evening bound for Elmira, NY.
From there, the rescued birds will be taken to nine sanctuaries from Michigan to Maryland.
Animal Place spokeswoman Marji Beach acknowledges that some people will think the operation is a bit extravagant.
"We just take it as it is," Beach said. "We know what we're doing is good work. We know we're saving lives, and that's what matters."
Beach said hens are considered spent after about two years of egg production and producers must pay to have them gassed and placed in landfills because there are no slaughterhouses in California willing to take them.
Animal Place has reached out to egg producers around the state, offering to take the birds for free.
Animal Place rescued a total of 3,000 hens from the unidentified egg producer, but couldn't afford to send them all out of state.
The chickens not making the flight to New York will be put up for adoption at the Animal Place sanctuaries in Vacaville and Grass Valley.
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net