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Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Hadassah Dejack-Reynolds, executive director of Tikkun Olam Farm Sanctuary, shares a moment at the farm Friday with Winky.
Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune Cornish hen crossbreed Winky checks out the locally published book ‘Among Animals 3’ at her home, Tikkun Olam Farm Sanctuary. Winky is featured on the cover of the book.
The inspiring story of a rescued chicken featured in a new anthology
Away from her first weeks of life – hatched in a noisy factory and then crammed into a filthy cage to await death by ritual sacrifice – a one-eyed Cornish hen cross named Winky will make her debut as an unlikely cover girl.
Coming next week from Ashland Creek Press, a local independent publisher of eco-literature, the third installment in the “Among the Animals” short fiction series spotlights stories of struggle, survival and “the ins and outs of outcomes of the complex relationships between humans and animals”. .”
Rescued at six weeks old in 2019 by the Tikkun Olam Farm Sanctuary in Phoenix, Winky was one of 70,000 birds purchased that year by New York synagogues for kapparot, a ritual performed by a small group of Orthodox Jews.
Hadassah Dejack-Reynolds, executive director of Tikkun Olam, said Winky is one of 39 birds rescued at her sanctuary, most of whom have been spared the annual sacrifice.
“Otherwise she would have gone to be slaughtered for someone’s meal if she hadn’t been marked for the ritual. I don’t know if you can compare one death as worse than another, but these birds are bought and kept in crates for a week without food or water before they are killed in a gruesome manner. says Dejack-Reynolds.
“Each year, our sanctuary works with activists in New York who rescue these birds from the ritual, and we work as part of an alliance to end the practice of using chickens for kapparot.”
Winky now spends her days – having lost an eye in transport following her rescue – soaking up the sun and waiting for mealtime visits with friendly volunteers.
Tikkun Olam, which means “fix the world,” started as a talent-based nonprofit in 2018. Recently relocated to Phoenix, the sanctuary hopes to continue its mission to rescue abused, neglected, and unwanted animals.
Although Winky isn’t the type of girl to worry about her fame, “keeping her emotions close to her waistcoat,” according to Dejack-Reynolds, the sanctuary’s staff and volunteers are thrilled that one of their birds of rescue be featured on the cover of the upcoming book.
Midge Raymond, co-founder and publisher of Ashland Creek Press, said the stories, which have an international reach, are meant to give pause. Highlighting a local rescue animal, specifically a chicken, was a fun twist, she noted.
“Our anthologies feature writers from around the world, but we were especially thrilled to be able to include Winky on the cover. It’s always amazing and fun to celebrate people doing great things locally,” Raymond said.
Raymond’s partner, Ashland Creek Press co-founder John Yunker photographed Winky for her big debut.
“As soon as we started working on this book, we knew we wanted to feature a chicken on the cover. We had already made a fox and a deer. People see these animals a lot and they consider them to be more… furry and cute,” Yunker said.
“Chickens are not an animal that people see very often. They tend to get overlooked. We have lots of bird stories in this anthology, from crows to hawks to chickens. Although we may think fox and deer have more charisma, we think it’s only because people don’t really know about chickens.
Dejack-Reynolds said it was comforting to think Winky’s story might have a small impact on readers’ hearts.
“My heart was so full to see this bird that was destined to be killed in a ritual slaughter, and now she is on the cover of a beautiful book,” she added.
“Chickens are one of the most abused animals on the planet, so I love that they chose a chicken to represent the incredible work they do. It’s very touching.”
For more information
To pre-order a copy of “Among the Animals 3,” slated for release April 12, check with local bookstores or visit online, ashlandcreekpress.com/books/amonganimals3.html
For more information on Tikkun Olam Farm Sanctuary and Winky, see www.facebook.com/tofsanctuary
Contact freelance writer Buffy Pollock at email@example.com.