Woodstock Sanctuary, based in upstate New York, wants you to sign their petition urging Tractor Supply to halt sales of baby chicks
Los Angeles, March 28th, 2023 — Tractor Supply, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, is selling baby chicks and ducks as part of its seasonal inventory. Now, Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rights organization in Upstate New York, has launched a new campaign urging Tractor Supply to stop these sales. The sanctuary says these sales create impulse buying from consumers who are often inexperienced in the ways of caring for chicks and ducks or purchase them on a lark, resulting in animal sanctuaries being inundated with requests to take in unwanted birds. Critics also note that veterinary care for chickens can be expensive, and they require specialized vet care. Woodstock Sanctuary hopes to gather 8,000 signatures in the coming days. Tractor Supply is invited on to respond to the complaints of Woodstock Sanctuary.
Rachel McCrystal, the Executive Director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, had a conversation with UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell about this campaign and others this sanctuary runs. You can watch the entire conversation here:
The Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Rachel McCrystal has been the Executive Director at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary since 2017. Before her nonprofit career, she was a journalist. Woodstock Farm Sanctuary was founded by Jenny Brown and Doug Abel outside of Woodstock, New York, in 2004. Charmingly, its address is: 2 Rescue Road, High Falls, NY. It is open to the public for tours and even overnight stays at its elegant “barn.” But, as a vegan sanctuary, McCrystal explains that the animal residents always come first:
“Even though we have nearly 400 animals, we say right off the bat that you won’t be meeting all of them. We only engage with the animals that actually, really, genuinely like to see visitors. This is their space, this is their home, and we let them take the lead.”
McCrystal explains Woodstock Sanctuary’s mission:
“We sort of have a three-pronged mission. We do a lot of rescues… Then, the other thing we do is education on site. We host thousands of people, starting in May through the end of November… And, then, we’re also doing advocacy. We’re doing campaigns.… We have one that we started a year and a half ago which is focused on state and county fairs… documenting and sharing the animal exploitation that happens at those fairs.”
Part of this campaign is exposing Birthing Centers that happen at many state and county fairs. In them, dozens of pregnant cows give birth in front of the public, as a spectacle. McCrystal explains more:
“People are watching them take the baby away from the mom, and they’ll likely never be reunited…It’s supposed to promote the dairy industry and dairy farms, which is a huge industry in New York State. So, we are trying to get this shut down.”
“We have to stop animal farming. That is just a must. It’s unsustainable and it’s not ethical.” — Rachel McCrystal, Executive Director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Woodstock Sanctuary’s Research into Chick Sales
McCrystal says the baby chick sale phenomenon is seasonal, and it starts in early spring.
“This time of year they have what is called Chick Days where they sell chicks but also ducklings… and you’ll usually see pens full of tiny chicks, a couple of days old to a couple weeks old, and ducklings for sale.”
McCrystal says these sales are problematic because they treat animals as commodities for entertainment or to produce backyard eggs.
“We found that a lot of those birds are bought cheaply by people who don’t really have the wherewithal to take care of them properly, and we start getting calls as sanctuaries to take them on… We are trying to stop it at the source, which is the breeding and the cheap sales to consumers.”
We invite Tractor Supply, New York State Fair, and the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition on at any time to comment on the issues raised by Woodstock Sanctuary.
“What calls to us about educating folks about chicks and ducklings, and specifically about why we shouldn’t be buying them, is that they’re not commodities.”— Rachel McCrystal, Executive Director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
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Jordi Casmitjana is a vegan zoologist and author.