In the early hours of February 21, 2001, animal rights group The Rescue Service liberated six battery hens from a farm outside Gråbo close to Gothenburg. The group broke into the farm and brought six of the hens to the home of local Green Party politician Lars Josefsson, who will personally care for the hens and let them live out the rest of their lives in peace. Lars Josefsson is a member of the Partille county council.
I am accepting the hens in order to in some small
way participate in the important debate regarding our ethics in relation
to all other life. The six hens that will live together with the rooster
Agaton and four other hens are of course a small drop in the ocean of
amorality and exploitation, but every trip around the earth begins with
a first step.
The liberators were later reported to the police.
Following previous liberations, farm owners have
almost always hushed down the actions in order to minimize the attention
surrounding the tortuous conditions of the hens. We have even
experienced farmers who deny the action altogether. We consider it a
success to have been reported to the police, so that the conflict will
be brought to the surface.
The police report was later dismissed, as per usual.
The action still managed to gain attention through two newspapers and a radio station; however, many other media in and around Gothenburg chose to ignore the event. Asked about the reason for this, GT (a leading newspaper of the region) replied that "six hens is no big deal", while competitors GP said that "there had been too much in the news about hens already".
A liberated hen enjoys her new home in Partille,
along with her liberators Jenny, Johan and Lars.
Photo by Hendrik Zeitler
The Rescue Service Action Group 5 is Jenny Husvall, Tobias Ryen and Johan Jaatinen.
The rooster Agaton made sure the other hens were not mean to the new arrivals.
Photo by Hendrik Zeitler
What rights do the "soul-less" animals have in regards to
free market forces? Is it defensible to symbolically liberate six hens?
Do lawmakers always follow moral and ethical justice? Does civil
disobedience plunge us into anarchy and frightful ambiguity, or are
these types of actions precisely what we need to develop our
This last week I have been reported to the police for receiving stolen goods. The rooster Agaton, the four hens and I have opened our home to six former battery hens.
Their scratching is pathetic, but already on the second night one of the hens managed to reach her perch. A natural desire still remains. What a relief!
I cannot remain still, close my eyes and shut up while in one week thousands of hens freeze to death on their way to their slaughter, or while enormous numbers of our "egg machines" are genetically and otherwise sick. Sure it is easy to be intimidated by the miseries on earth, but our silence feeds passivity, alien-ship and despair.
It is of course my inner experiences and the feelings of my soul which feed my engagement. This engagement wishes to communicate with the thoughts, emotions and wishes of others. That is why I am politically engaged. I hope and want to believe that is also the reason for the trust and backing offered by my political party.
The liberation of the six hens has through the enormous market force dependency of mass media been turned into a debate whether or not a politician can engage in civil disobedience. Only in parenthesis does the question arise how we in a just society can allow six hens to spend their lives inside a cage with the area of half a square meter.
Should I as a politician limit myself to a gutless blabbermouth or a moth-infested conservator? How can politically obscure words constitute a good example while engagement and activism frightens? This frightens me. Once Olof Palme walked side by side with an ambassador, and for this I admire him. Thank you, Göran Persson, for daring to invite us all to your Christmas table.
I am completely convinced that only ethics and heartfelt engagement can restore public trust to politicians. Only in this way will youths return to our political parties. Only in this way will we create new facets on our most precious stone, that which we call democracy. Only in this way will we reach the conversation, which allows us to see each other regardless of space and time: the battery hen’s longing, the hen owner’s economic shackles, the concern we in the favoured world feel regarding food supply and greenhouse effects, the fear of another day of starvation that hundreds of millions fellow humans are forced to live in, the longing for peace and freedom which we all of us share.
The Rescue Service
Språkgränd 41 3tr, SE-907 33 UMEÅ
Pg: 112 98 26-2 (account for donations)
Contact: Åsa-Maja Augustsson
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
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
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