A reported 100,000 chickens burned to death in a barn fire at Hillandale Farms in Bozrah, Connecticut, according to news reports.

Hillandale Farms – one of the top egg producers in the United States – issued a statement after the fire, saying, “Our leadership team is proactively working with fire officials to support a thorough investigation of the cause of the fire. All employees are safe. There will be no further comment at this time.”

That statement includes no reference to what the chickens who died in the fire endured. And while numerous news outlets picked up the headline, not a single one reviewed by Lady Freethinker mentioned that chickens are sensitive, complex beings who are caring mothers, have over 30 different vocalizations, and have their own unique personalities, likes, and dislikes.

Chickens can feel joy, anxiety, grief, and love – just like humans can. They experience fear and pain, too.

Sadly, in 2022 alone, more than half a million animals — including many being raised for people’s “food” — died in barn fires, according to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). Just three of those fires — two in Minnesota, and one in Pennsylvania — killed nearly 500,000 birds.

A fire is a miserable way to die. But many animals raised for food endure an entire lifetime of pain and suffering. Hens on typical modern farms are usually crammed into tiny spaces by the hundreds of thousands, have their beaks mutilated, suffer danger and death during transport, and are eventually sent to slaughter once their egg production wanes.

The good news is we can all help spare sensitive hens from a lifetime of misery by choosing kind plant-based options that don’t harm any animals. There are many easy and delicious recipes out there that can help you create vegan versions of all your favorite dishes.