Rebel The Rooster

By Kat Krylov, Executive Director
Rebel the rooster was Promised Land Sanctuary's very first rescue. Most young roos often outlive their welcome with farmers and backyard breeders because they are "too rough on my hens", "chase my children" or "attack everyone". While this is normal behaviour for roosters and they do outgrow it given proper handling and patience, not many people are willing to keep them around long enough to give them a chance. And so it was with Rebel. He was young and cocky, not a fan of young children and most people in general. This made it a challenging dilemma for the guests at our farm. Lots of warnings were given to parents of young children, to not let them chase Rebel and to generally avoid him. 
When 4-year-old Thomas first saw Rebel, all he wanted to do was pick him up. Despite his parents' pleas and chidings, Thomas chased Rebel every chance he got. Relentlessly. In fact, he did little else during the three days he was at the farm. Rebel did his best to get away and was pretty well-behaved while the adults were around. Until... one morning we heard Thomas's piercing screams. Apparently, the boy snuck out of the house before mom and dad were awake and Rebel was already waiting for him. By the time we got to him, Thomas had deep, red gashes all over his back. I was horrified but Thomas's dad had a more measured response: "He's been chasing that rooster since the day we got here, he had it coming!" Still, seeing Thomas in pain and inconsolable, I tended to his wounds, wrapped him up in a soft blanket and perched him on my knee. 
"You know, Thomas, Rebel was a very, very bad boy today. What he did was very mean and I'm sorry he hurt you" I said.
Thomas stopped crying and nodded his head.
 "What do you suppose we should do to punish him? Should we make chicken soup out of
him?" I continued in gest. 
The boy's eyes widened and filled with tears again. He looked up at me, his lips quivering, and wailed "Noooooo!"
It is my deep belief that as young children, we all have a natural compassion for all living beings. The human-animal bond is a sign of a healthy psyche. The desire to protect and nurture them is something we are all born with. I have seen many kids refuse to eat meat when they first find out where it comes from. What was presented to us as 'normal' by society while we were growing up – protein can only come from meat, milk does a body good – is a lie for the sake of profit and exploitation of those who have no voice. 
When people visit our sanctuary, they have an opportunity to connect with a non-human person on a level they haven't been able to since they were very young, if at all. By looking into the eyes of a pig, a chicken, a turkey, a goat or a sheep, many wake up to the realization that these unique, sentient beings are just like us. They feel love, fear and pain. They form deep bonds with their offspring, members of their own species and even other species. Non-human animals deserve our protection so they can live out their natural lives as sovereign beings, not our food or slaves. 
By the way, Rebel is now 5 years old and is still living at the sanctuary. He has mellowed quite a bit and can often be found snoozing in my arms.
Don't miss out on our giveaway, an Experience Tour of the Sanctuary. Details here!

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