Sentience becomes the hundredth member of the Open Wing Alliance
Sentience is the first Swiss organization to join the alliance, which was founded in 2016. In doing so, our organization is committed to becoming an even stronger advocate for the interests of chickens at home and abroad.
Initiated by the Humane League, the Open Wing Alliance brings together 100 organizations from around the world working together to improve the lives of chickens in agriculture. Sentience shares the belief of our new partner organizations that chickens play a key role in the global factory farming system, and that campaigns for the welfare of chickens are significantly more effective than campaigns for other animal groups. This is due to the fact that both globally and in Switzerland around 95 percent of all animals slaughtered in agriculture are chickens, and that chickens have by far the most precarious living conditions.
Broiler chickens are only allowed to live for about 5 weeks before they are slaughtered. In their last week of life, they are so obese that they can barely stand on their feet. Many develop leg injuries or have cardiovascular problems because the heart no longer supplies blood properly to their oversized bodies. 2-4 percent of chickens die prematurely. Laying hens, on the other hand, are usually culled after about 15 percent of their natural life expectancy because their laying performance no longer meets farm requirements. They will by then have laid more than 300 eggs – instead of the approximately 15 eggs a hen in nature would lay in that time span.
During their short lives, chickens are often kept in conditions that would be unthinkable for other animals. A Swiss chicken only has about the size of an A4 sheet of paper of available floor space. In addition, only 20 percent of the pen needs to be littered. Sunbathing is often not possible due to the lack of sunlight; barns are too low for flying; a real social life is unthinkable in flock sizes of up to 27,000 animals. In large farms, chickens therefore not only have little space available for foraging, but also have to be satisfied with a substrate that is simply unsuitable.
Even though Switzerland abolished battery cages – the primary form of abuse that the Open Wing Alliance is fighting against – in 1992, there is still a lot to be done. A change in attitude is needed both in politics and among major distributors: it is high time that the suffering of chickens is finally taken seriously.
Upcoming changes at Sentience
After four and a half fulfilling years full of transformation and unique projects, the time has come for me to turn a new page. I have decided to step down from my operational role as Co-Managing Director of Sentience at the end of this year.
Key Learnings 2022
Both of our initiatives represented landmark achievements for Sentience. They shaped the public discourse in 2022 and contributed to the slow inculcation of animal ethics into mainstream society. Yet, there is room for improvement.
Annual Report 2022
The past year was a huge milestone in the recent history of our association. With the Primate Initiative in Basel and the national referendum on factory farming, two proposals of historical importance came to the ballot box.
Introducing the Protein Lab 2023
We are pleased to introduce our first fully-funded project for 2023. Protein Lab comprises a series of one-day workshops where experts will come together to discuss how our food system can transition towards plant-based protein sources.
Meet the team who will take our work forward in 2023
The most eventful year so far is coming to an end for Sentience. Get to know our new team and support our Matching Challenge so that we can continue our commitment to non-human animals.
Double Your Donation by December 31
We would like to announce an exciting giving opportunity! From now until the end of the year, all donations to Sentience will be matched up to a total of 30,000 CHF. This matching challenge is made possible thanks to a few generous donors...
We lost the vote, and factory farmed animals still need our help
Swiss voters have now decided the outcome of our flagship initiative to abolish factory farming, which was launched by Sentience in 2018. The incredible support of our partner organisations, network of volunteers and public figures made it possible…
Despite defeat: Factory farming has won Switzerland’s attention
The Swiss electorate rejected the initiative against factory farming. As part of the sponsoring committee, Sentience is pleased that the initiative has received a great deal of attention in recent months. Since the initiative's launch in 2018…