EIGHTEEN MONTHS OF HELL. A Short Story By Lily Carrington.

From a hatchling until her death in an automated slaughterhouse, a factory-farmed chicken’s life is hell from beginning to end.  Another powerful and compassionate story from young writer and animal activist Lily Carrington.  


Day One…

She tumbles out of her eggshell and lands on something hard. A cacophony of chirping overwhelms her, like a door opening to a deafening crowd. The brightness of artificial lights blinds her at first. She blinks. She’s in a crate, cold plastic slats pressing painfully into her brand-new baby feet. She does a little shake, her feathers sticking to her skin like wet clothes. Her blue eyes are wide, her heart beats out a speedy rhythm in her chest. All of a sudden, a hand lunges down towards her. Before she can run, fingers clamp around her small frame like a vice, lift her into the air, then send her flying. She slams down onto another unforgiving surface, a conveyor belt. After a moment of panicked kicking and flapping she regains her balance and stands, wobbling among countless other chicks as the conveyor belt moves along steadily beneath them. She is grabbed again, carried, dropped, grabbed again, and then blinding pain sears through her beak. She screams internally, the agony unbearable. After an excruciating few seconds, the machine releases her beak, but the pain barely recedes. She falls into another crate. Her head lolls forward, eyes half closed as pain continues to surge through her body in waves, threatening to drown her. The crate is lifted and stacked on top of another. Then another is stacked on top of that.

Eleven months later…

In the darkness of a shed, her beak still hurts when she eats. But now she has worse pains that compete for her attention. Her skin stings in the raw patches where her feathers are missing, pecked out by other chickens when she attempts to approach the pop holes. Now her feathers have started just falling out by themselves. Her legs falter beneath her, becoming more fragile every day. Her feet ache from standing on hard plastic. Her lungs burn from the stench that permeates the air. Huddled in a gloomy corner, her gaze darts
around, left, right, left again. She blinks, and lets her haggard body gradually sink onto the grimy floor. She breathes slowly, heavily. Her eyelids close halfway, but not fully. Her body feels as if it’s full of bricks, but her mind zaps with anxiety, preventing her from sleeping. She will never know what it’s like to feel safe.

Seven months later…

She is weaker still. An unusual commotion brings her to her feet. Chickens are being seized and crammed into crates. She becomes immediately alert, as fear tightens its hold on her. She rushes clumsily to the rear of the shed where the other chickens have gathered into a mass of squawking, flapping, feathers. Soon she too fails to escape the determined hands as they lunge and grab. As she panics wildly, fingers tighten around one of her legs and jerk her upside down. Her leg snaps and searing pain engulfs her. But the hand doesn’t let go.

“Keep flapping and I’ll break your other one too!”

She’s shoved into a crate, and desperately tries to readjust. Trying, but failing, to escape the pain in her leg. More chickens are
squashed on top of her. She can barely breathe.

Five hours later…

Her world tilts upside down as she is wrenched from the midst of the chickens in her crate. Her mangled leg is forced into the unyielding grip of a metal shackle. The pain is overwhelming. But the world does not stop for her, and the line of shackles moves onwards.

Taking her, in all her flapping desperation, to the electrified water baths. Without hesitation, she is dragged headfirst into the bath. She thrashes under the water. In the shackles, her pale feet twitch and spasm. She is still underwater, and still she thrashes. Then finally, finally, finally, her body goes limp. At the other end of the bath, she emerges. Her bare throat arrives in the hands of the throat cutter. The knife points into her flesh, presses, and cuts her open, then her blood pours out.

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Lily Carrington is a dedicated animal rights activist who is driven by a strong sense of justice for all beings. She is fighting for a world where all non-human animals are granted respect, compassion and freedom. Lily lives in Hamilton, New Zealand, with her Mum and 10 companion animals.  She has recently graduated from school.

‘A Lamb To Slaughter.’ A Short Story by Lily Carrington

‘Molly’ the lamb journeys to the slaughterhouse, where she watches her friend be killed.  Next, it’s her turn.


This is a story about a lamb. She doesn’t have a name, but for the sake of this narrative lets call her Molly.

Molly sits at the back of a cattle truck. She is tucked into the corner with her legs folded under her, trying not to slide around in faeces as the truck lurches and judders. The foul stench of the manure fills her nostrils and clings to her woolly coat. Feverish warmth rolls through her in waves, making her dizzy. Her thirst is accompanied by a constant ache in her empty belly. “What’s going on?” she thinks, trembling despite the suffocating heat. “Where are we going? Where is my herd?”

The scenery outside the truck changes from farmland to bush, to hills, to farmland again, but Molly doesn’t see it as it passes by. After an eternity of staring at the same poop-splattered walls and the same scared faces of fellow lambs, Molly feels the truck start to slow. She leans to the side as they turn a narrow corner, and flinches when a loud beeping sound pierces the air. The truck moves backwards then stops. The roar of the engine fades and gives way to a different, fainter noise. It’s a strange sound which Molly doesn’t recognise at first. It echoes eerily through the air. Screams, she realises. It’s the muffled sound of screaming. The realisation sends fear rolling through her and the tension in the air rises, all the lambs becoming more distressed.

The ramp of the truck is lowered and lambs scramble back towards Molly and cower around her at the rear of the truck. Someone’s hooves jab her sharply in her side. A man walks onto the truck, all business, and shoves a couple of lambs towards the ramp. They scramble down into the bright afternoon sun and into a pen. The man stomps his way towards the back of the truck, towards where Molly still sits in the corner. He shakes a rattle and Molly lurches to her hooves in fright at the loud clanging. She races after the other lambs, down the ramp and into the crowded pen, breathing hard. The lambs are packed in tightly, wool pressed against wool, hooves stumbling over hooves. Molly’s soft ears swivel constantly. Her wide eyes search those of the other lambs, seeking comfort but finding only her own fear reflected back at her.

Suddenly a cold stream of water splatters down on the lambs. Molly startles and tries to run but there’s no space to move and nowhere to go. She blinks repeatedly as the water continues to fall until it soaks through her dense coat. Her hooves splash anxiously in the shallow pool of water that now covers the concrete.

Then the lambs start to move. The one behind Molly pushes her forward as the man with the rattle starts shaking it behind them. Molly stumbles forward then manages to push her way out of the group and darts backwards into an empty space in the pen, her heartbeat thudding in her ears. She bleats and runs back and forth, confused and scared. A man walks towards her so she runs the other way, only to find another man waiting for her. She changes direction and bolts back to the other lambs. She’s quickly swallowed by the group again and there’s nothing to do but follow along with everyone else.

The metal fences that make up the sides of the pen narrow at one corner to become a kind of corridor which disappears into a building. The lambs are being herded from the pen down this corridor and inside. The terrible smell that’s hung in the air since the moment Molly got off the truck starts to intensify the closer she gets to the entrance of the building. She soon reaches the part where the pen gives way to the corridor but she resists moving out of the pen. She pushes back against the sheep behind her, trying to turn back, terrified. A large hand comes down on her rump, sudden and hard. She flies forward, bleating in panic. She follows after the lamb in front of her, recognising him as the one who stood next to her on the truck. He’s a small boy lamb from her herd, the one whose tail stump never recovered properly after they cut it off.

Soon the corridor takes them inside the ominous building. As soon as Molly enters, the smell that’s been hanging in the air gets a hundred times stronger, hitting her like a solid wall.  It’s the worst kind of smell, thick and acrid. Molly and all the other lambs know what it is and what it means, leaving them waiting in horror for what’s to come. It’s the smell of blood, the smell of death. It consumes the place like a physical thing, inescapable, and not without a fitting soundtrack to accompany it. The soundtrack of endless screams that tell of unbearable agony and terror. Now the screams of Molly’s travel companions join them in a haunting, hellish harmony.

Regular loud bangs get louder and louder as Molly’s forced further inside the building. The little boy lamb in front of her soon reaches the front of the line. Another man gently pats his behind and he trots forward. The man shuts a gate behind him.

Molly sees what happens next through the gap in the gate’s hinge. The boy lamb scrambles forward into a room and sniffs the glistening, scarlet ground. The man picks up something solid and metal and approaches the boy lamb, but he doesn’t run.

The man strokes his head and the boy lamb just stands there, shaking. Then the man gets the lamb between his legs, and holds the metal object to his small, soft head. The lamb looks up at the man innocently, and makes a quiet, pitiful little baaing sound. The man shakes his head. “Sorry sweetheart” he whispers. Then he pulls the trigger.

Molly flinches at the loud bang and watches in horror as the boy lamb falls to the ground letting out a short, choked cry. Molly looks only at his eyes. They’ve gone too wide and they stare, frozen, as his body convulses and his legs spasm on the blood- soaked floor. The man grabs him by the leg and hangs him upside down with a shackle around his ankle. Molly watches as another man brings his knife to the little boy lamb’s throat and cuts it open, the boy lamb jerking uncontrollably. She cannot tear her eyes away as blood starts to pour from her friend’s neck. The boy lamb meets Molly’s gaze, and for a split second she sees the friend she grew up with, who always liked clover flowers, who frolicked with her in the field, looking back at her with eyes wild with pain and terror before they go blank. Molly’s gaze stays fixed on his eyes as his head is chopped off and thrown in a bin where it lays amongst many other heads, and its eyes still stare, unseeing, straight back at her.

See also:









Lily Carrington is a dedicated animal rights activist who is driven by a strong sense of justice for all beings. She is fighting for a world where all non human animals are granted respect, compassion and freedom. Lily lives in Hamilton, New Zealand, with her Mum and 10 companion animals, and has recently graduated from school.



Mother and Daughter Vegan Activists 2 – Mel Wilson and Lily Carrington

Next in our series of Mother and Daughter vegan activists, we meet Mel Wilson and Lily Carrington.


Mel, can you describe your own journey to veganism?  

I grew up eating meat every night at dinner, and I didn’t think anything of it, it was just what my parents gave me to eat. My little sister, Tracy, realised much earlier than me that it wasn’t ok, I think she was around 10 years old when she first said she didn’t want to eat meat/animals. When I was pregnant with my first child at 22 years old I finally stopped eating animal flesh. I went vegetarian, and then about 3 years later fully plant based but still wasn’t vegan. I hadn’t fully connected what happens to animals in the egg and dairy industries as I went back to eating milk chocolate and cheese for a few years. I don’t have a clear memory of a moment when I realised that as a vegetarian I was contributing to so much death, it most likely was partly due to my awesome sister’s influence again.  I stopped buying cheese and milk chocolate for ethical reasons around 10 years ago, and my 3 children went vegan with me.  When they visited their father they were sometimes given dairy and eggs but very soon started refusing to eat it as they knew the reasons why we’d stopped at home and didn’t want to be contributing to the hurting and killing of animals.  All three of my children are still vegan and none of them have even considered deviating from that path.  It’s not a diet, it’s not wanting to hurt and kill animals or pay someone to do it for us.  They all enjoy food immensely and none of them have ever felt they were missing out. 


When did you begin your animal activism?

It took me a bit longer to get into activism.  I am fairly awkward in social situations, and quite an introvert.  I remember seeing that Anonymous for the Voiceless were looking for someone to take over organising cubes in Hamilton. I’d never been to a cube before and I was nervous, not sure I could do it, but I knew that someone needed to and no-one else was coming forward so I just decided to do it.  I contacted a few people looking for co-organisers, in particular someone a bit more outgoing than me.  Luckily my awesome sister agreed to help with organising, and also another friend, Chris, agreed to help too.  We’ve done AV cubes monthly for around 3 years.  There were some suggestions from other activists that I start up an Animal Save Chapter in Hamilton, so I said ok to that too and we did a few vigils. We moved on to doing SAVE Squares fairly soon, as talking one on one to people seems to have a big impact on getting people to change their behaviour, especially while watching footage of the agriculture industry. Lily, my youngest child, decided that once a month wasn’t enough, and starting at the beginning of this year we’ve been doing weekly street outreach events.  We either do a SAVE Square or an AV cube in Hamilton, or sometimes go to Mt Maunganui to join with activists there.  We organised a live export event last weekend, and we’ve been to 2 animal rights marches.  Lily does online activism daily and has her own tiktok, facebook, youtube and Instagram accounts purely for activism.  Supermarket visits are spent partly shopping but also stickering and we have a large supply of stickers.  We don’t visit a supermarket without putting stickers on a few things to hopefully make people think about their purchases. The more we do, the more we know we need to do, and it’s frustrating knowing so many people either don’t know or don’t care, but we’ll never stop trying.  We’re lucky to know lots of hardworking activists who are an inspiration to us both.


Is Lily primarily vegan for the animals?

Animals are the victims and they are lily’s main priority. She also cares about the environment and state of the planet, but only because what happens to the planet affects all the earthlings on it. Her activism covers topics like health but mainly just to debunk the argument that we need to eat animal products for our health, and then she puts the focus back to the animals.

How is Lily influencing her friends, teachers and so on, with her activism for animals? 

I know Lily has influenced a few friends to go vegan, at least two are fully vegan and she has definitely influenced others. I hope some of her teachers and other students have been influenced by her speeches, presentations, formal and creative writing and other schoolwork she has used as a voice for the animals. Recently her English teacher was so moved by a narrative she wrote about a lamb in a slaughterhouse that he decided to have vegetable curry that night instead of the lamb curry he had planned.


Lily is certainly very active on social media, and has also written stories and given speeches, very impressive for a 16 year old.   Tell us some of the things Lily has done.

Lily has done 2 speeches for school which were well written and persuasive.  She would never choose to enter a speech competition for fun, or to compete, but she did it to try to influence others towards veganism. She has written creative pieces, formal pieces, and carried out school projects in both primary and secondary school which highlight the cruelty in the meat, dairy and egg industries. She posts on social media daily, she is now creating her own videos to share on social media. She replies to comments on her posts which would drive me crazy but she hopes to influence people who show an interest.  Activism is an essential daily activity for Lily. This is on top of caring for our 10 small animal companions, schoolwork and gardening.

 What makes you most proud of her?

Her dedication and her bravery.  As a natural introvert, it doesn’t come naturally to make a speech or to speak to strangers at cubes.  But the most important thing to Lily is trying to help animals, so she puts herself out of her comfort zone over and over again with this in mind. She spent lockdowns watching Earthling Ed over and over, and making cue cards of common arguments against veganism and good responses to those.  Then when we started doing cubes again she started doing outreach (she’d mostly stood in the cube up til that point).  Now she is one of our best outreachers (I may be a little biased but she is really good!)  She isn’t scared to confront people with their hypocrisy, and firmly holds them accountable, without allowing them to derail the conversation.


What do you hope for Lily in the next five years?

I hope that Lily gets to see some progress with more and more people going vegan.  I hope that she feels the change she is contributing to and knows she’s making a difference. I hope she continues to accept challenges, knowing how capable she is.

Thankyou for your time, Mel. 

Link to Lily’s activism page