May is International Respect for Chickens month. Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns founded the project in 2005 in celebration of chickens and in protest against our oppression of them when we see them as food.
Matilda was one of the first chickens to live at Eden. She was also one of my first teachers. I still recall the day she left her group of friends and ran the long length of what is now George's field, stepping out from what I thought of as a homogenous group of birds, into her glorious, unique self. She taught me that she was someone, not something. She taught me that, like humans, chickens are unique, with identities that are formed from a mixture of their essence and experience. She taught me to respect and recognise her, simply for being her. That is the essence of veganism.
The last night I spent with Matilda as she lay dying beside me, I promised her that I would dedicate the rest of my life to telling the world about her, and about the personhood of those we fail to recognise and respect. In her memory I founded Matilda's Promise, the Animal Rights & Vegan Education Centre that is attached to Eden. I credit her with being among those special residents who inspired me to found the Go Vegan World advertising campaign. I am still keeping my promise and I always will.
As we near the end of May I remember her and the legacy she left to the world, with love and with respect. You can pay your respect to her by reading and sharing her story.