The Secret Seven
8th September 2013
Shhhhh…. Meet the Secret Seven
It is no secret that allowing children to develop a relationship with the animals of their world is important for all involved. It is also no secret that school hatching projects have been developed with this aim in mind. And it is most certainly no secret that many children involved in such projects develop strong, loving bonds with the creatures they have brought into the world. However, what currently does remain a secret, are the undesirable outcomes these projects so often produce for the newly hatched chicks, as well as the harmful messages they have the potential to send to children.
Not a week goes by here at Edgar’s Mission in which we do not receive at least one phone call (but often many more) from a pleading parent desperately seeking sanctuary for their child’s hatching project progeny. You see, nature dictates that approximately 50% of chicks hatched out will be male and with many a hatching project taking place within suburban schools, the outcome for these boys is often dire. Close neighbours and suburban councils do not take kindly to the early morning wake-up call roosters impose and so, many a cute fluffy chick is carried home at the project’s end, only to then morph into a crowing, testosterone-charged rooster with nowhere to turn. With pounds and shelters already struggling to cope with the influx of dogs and cats that come their way, and with sanctuaries such as our own only able to care for a finite number of these creatures, sadly the lives of school hatching project roosters are so often brought to an untimely end.
And what kind of message does this send to the heartbroken children who must then have their beloved chick euthanased simply for being born the wrong sex? Do hatching projects teach children about the responsibility that comes along with bringing life into the world? Do they teach children to value and to respect life? No they do not. Indeed hatching projects go so far as to trivialise life with their use of living, breathing, feeling creatures as mere teaching aids. And, in the case of the many children who have to end the very lives they themselves brought into this world; hearts inevitably begin to harden and minds inevitably begin to understand, “That’s just the way it is.”
And so, such was the lot of our Secret Seven. Determined to be roosters at the project’s end, their future did not appear bleak – it in fact appeared non-existent. Taken home by a caring parent, they were granted a temporary reprieve from their dire situation. Sadly, our Secret Seven were originally eight, however one of the wee chicks had shown signs of illness at the project’s end and passed away shortly after, in the caregiver’s home. This also causes us to further question the welfare implications of all chicks involved in school hatching projects. Classrooms and inquisitive young hands can in no way mimic the astute care and attention of a mother hen. And school hours, lack of veterinary budget often coupled with inexperienced carers with their own competing pressures and priorities are not conducive to maintaining the high level care these creatures require.
As the call came in for us to please rescue the Secret Seven, our hearts sank. Seven roosters? Not even our sanctuary could possibly accommodate them for the remainder of their days. However, perhaps with the assistance of our supporters and our community we could. And this is where you, dear friend, come in. Edgar’s Mission has temporarily housed the Secret Seven and are providing the loving care the young chicks require. But we can only do this for so long. Each of the Seven are seeking their forever home, where they will be cared for, kept safe from predators and provided the freedom to live as roosters should. If you are able to provide a loving forever home for one of the Secret Seven, please contact us. And if you are not currently in a position to bring a rooster into your home, please help us by sharing this request far and wide.
Why school hatching projects continue in this day and age when there are so many alternatives remains a mystery of epic proportions. However, with our supporters on the case, we are determined to ensure that the true implications of these projects no longer remain a secret and we are sure, this is one mystery that together we will soon be able to solve.