The Rescue Service Svenska English

Majja Carlsson’s Story of the Action

After weeks of intense planning it was finally time for the action itself. Alvin, Tomas, Björn and I were to liberate a large number of hens and bring them to new homes. We went there late Saturday night. It was pitch dark and completely quiet as we cruised down the streets passing fields and small country houses. I was really nervous. Worried that the farm owner or someone else would show up, that we wouldn’t be able to break into the hen farm, that our car would break down, that the hens had been moved out for slaughter and we would find an empty barn, that all this worrying would give me a heart attack, that something—anything—would go wrong, and that the hens would not gain their freedom. At the same time I felt very happy and anxious. I could barely sit still inside the car and would almost have preferred running the entire way to the farm just to rid myself of some of this enthusiasm and energy.

As we coasted along the gravel road leading up to the hen farm we sounded like a heard of elephants to me. But no one seemed to notice. When we stepped out of the car and changed into protective clothing the night was as silent as before.

The door to the battery hen farm was unlocked. All we had to do was open the door and walk in. I had been inside of battery farms before and had also, like most of us, seen hundreds of pictures taken inside hen farms. In other words I should have been accustomed to and prepared for the sight as one steps through the doors and into the modern egg industry. Still an emotional storm of nausea and helplessness stirred in me as I stepped in and was greeted by 16,000 hens locked into narrow cages in long rows reminiscent of pictures of concentration camp barracks.

I hope I will never get used to the sight of living beings exposed to suffering. I don’t believe anyone who works in the animal industry to be genuinely evil. Rather, I think people’s exploitation of animals have become normalized to the point that few people even consider whether it is right or wrong. The modern animal industry is highly industrialized. The animals have long since seized to be viewed as sentient individuals, but rather as production units on the factory floor. The animals have slowly become disposable merchandise. The greatest profit for the least effort. If a person has 16,000 hens, I suspect it would be impossible to take the time to care for each and every one of them. They are left in their cages, fulfilling their sole purpose—to lay eggs for our manufactured need. After a few years their bodies are so worn that their rate of laying eggs is reduced, and mass slaughter is their next step.

Since we were planning to liberate a large number of hens, we required quite a few boxes to be brought into the hen farm just before placing the hens inside. For awhile it seemed our mountain of boxes would never diminish. It seemed like we brought hens out of cages, placed them inside boxes, and moved them aside for an eternity. We were pouring sweat, our eyes and noses were burning despite the protective masks. We worked incessantly and yet it seemed the number of caged hens had not diminished at all. I wish we had brought enough with us to empty the entire farm from hens. Still, 120 hens were relieved from that place. Before we left we stapled a note to the door which described what we had done, and above all, why we had done it.

The feeling of liberation, not only for the hens but also for me, surged within me as we had finished packing the car and drove away. I am proud of myself, Alvin, Tomas and Björn, and also pleased that there are people out in the world who do not just float along with the current like dead fish but who realize that the world is in need of change, and who actually try to do something about it.

It was empowering to watch the hens be lifted out of the boxes and into freedom, and, most likely for the first time ever, flap their wings. Had I been so inclined, I would have called it an almost religious experience. But since I am not religious, I will simply say that it was very cool!

Sure, our action did not change the world. It might even seem as a drop in the ocean to liberate 120 hens while another six million remain in Sweden’s many battery farms and hatcheries. But it is all about seeing the animals as individuals. And for these 120 hens one must assume it meant quite a lot.

Quite possibly legal ramifications will follow this action. Naturally, I realize that some will label this as a crime even though I disagree with them. It is sad that we are the ones considered criminals in this society, and not the egg industry which has in fact violated the Swedish Animal Protection Act for over fifteen years. That the law intended to protect the animals is widely ignored while crimes against the right of ownership are seen as serious offences.

The day after the action I read in the papers how the owner of the battery farm describes the condition inside his farm "a paradise for the hens". I shiver with discomfort and feel nauseous all over again. Thinking about when we were inside of the farm. Hens packed closely together in an atmosphere of cold steel and concrete, dirt and dusty, ammonia-filled air. Several of the cages housed dead hens. I cannot answer for the world view of Lennart Stråkander, but it seems bizarre if the environment inside a battery farm could be interpreted as remotely close to a paradise by anyone.

To liberate animals is a concrete action which provides results immediately, and I see it as an important part of my struggle for animal protection. I have not for a second regretted my action and only wish for more people to liberate animals and open their homes to those who need a second chance in life.


Åsa-Maja Augustsson The Rescue Service
c/o Westerberg
Språkgränd 41 3tr, SE-907 33 UMEÅ
Pg: 112 98 26-2 (account for donations)

Contact: Åsa-Maja Augustsson
Phone: +46(0)709-695378


Oct 21, 2007
20 hens rescued
Nov 27, 2006
12 hens rescued
May 2, 2004
120 hens rescued
April 5, 2004
39 hens rescued
April 27, 2003
Hatchery disarmed
April 14, 2003
102 hens rescued
October 11, 2002
0 hens rescued
August 12, 2002
17 hens rescued
June 2, 2002
38 hens rescued
April 14, 2002
12 hens rescued
March 27, 2002
16 hens rescued
March 17, 2002
21 rabbits rescued
Aug. 5, 2001
Abattoir disarmed
Feb. 21, 2001
6 hens rescued
Dec. 14, 2000
3 hens rescued
Maj 7, 2000
36 hens rescued
Feb. 15, 2000
5 hens rescued
Oct. 28, 1999
24 hens rescued