A special Valentine’s message: farm animals have the ability to feel too

"Each call a chicken makes is slightly different depending on what kind of food they find"

Valentine’s Day is a time to say “I love you” to the ones closest to you and spend the day showing your emotions, be it through flowers, chocolates, or simply a hug. It may come as a surprise that farm animals can also share some of these same types of emotions and sensations. They may not necessarily form the words, I love you, but scientific research has shown that animals are sentient beings that feel positive and negative emotions such as joy, pleasure and pain.

For example, studies have found that cattle experience pleasure, and sheep have the ability to recognize faces. Chickens get excited and will have a specific “call” when they find food, alerting their friends. Each call a chicken makes is slightly different depending on what kind of food they find.

These are the more positive emotions. But they can also display negative emotions. Hens, including the 300 million of hens suffering in cages across North America, display specific behavioral and physiological changes when witnessing their chicks exposed to distress. This is particularly alarming because chickens in some agricultural practices routinely witness pain, suffering, and death of other flock mates.

That is why we must create a greater awareness of animal sentience among the public, so that we can move influential stakeholders in the industry and in government to put in place practices that will lead to positive changes – increasing respect for ALL animals and leading to their humane treatment. In all that we do, we are clear: animals have the ability to feel, and we will not accept their suffering. Through our Choose Cage-Free campaign, we’re aiming to reduce the physical and mental suffering of hens crammed in tiny cages.

So, this Valentine’s Day as you spend time with a loved one, why not also take a moment to think about how you can help another sentient being? If you haven’t yet, please sign our pledge to choose cage-free eggs. Or if you have already signed it, please share the link with friends and family. By moving more and more people to commit to higher welfare eggs, we can together create a movement to end the pain and suffering of millions of hens.