Australian Hen Rescue (part 2)
From: Patty Mark
The Action Animal Rescue Team revisited the Victorian battery hen
shed south of Melbourne (see last update July 21, 2000) four days
later on Tuesday July 25, 2000. Four more hens were rescued, but the
team were shocked on entering the shed to find 50 DEAD ROTTING BODIES
laying in the aisles between the cages.
Many of the bodies were badly decomposed, green with mold and
disembowelled. A handwritten sign on the wall reading: Do not put
bodies on floor, place directly in bags... was videotaped and
This is a new shed with it's first batch of laying hens (we
were told the birds have been in the shed for about 12 months, making
them 'end of lay' battery hens.) It is disturbing to realise that
the rescue team hardly noticed any dead birds on the Friday night
(but we had only half an hour of light in the shed). It is extremely
difficult to view birds in the bottom tier and basically impossible
to view them on the top tier, yet obviously many of the hens had been
dead for awhile. Many would have been ill, suffering great pain and
would have starved to death. More proof that no matter how new or
'state of the art' they try to make the cages, they don't work!
The hens were ISA browns, who are known to be more docile in
temperment, but they were unusally frenzied and distressed. (note the
rescue team have rescued many other ISA hens from vaarious sheds
whereas these poor girls were extremely unsettled). The cages were
slightly larger than normal, but we noticed quite alot of bruising,
with many of the birds throwing themselves about. The debeaking was
savage and the hens had abnormally long claws. All those rescued had
to have their toenails trimmed so they could walk properly.
All the cages have an electrified wire running underneath the
feedtrough that is used to 'train' the hens not to retrieve their
eggs should they get broody or frustrated. Please notice in the
photos that the roof of the cages is solid metal and the birds were
UNABLE TO STAND AT FULL HEIGHT IN THE CAGE. The solid ceiling is to
accomodate the conveyor belt that removes the hen's droppings from
the shed. The top tier did have a wire mesh ceiling, but even here
the hens weren't able to fit their heads up through it.
One of the hens rescued was catatonic and died several hours
later, she weighed under a kilogram (less than half her normal body
weight). It is against the law to leave a sick animal unattended.
We know this place has been reported to the RSPCA on several
occasions over a long period and they have yet to investigate.
In spite of new cages, more space for hens, a relatively clean shed
with efficient automation and temperature control, the battery cage
remains a HELLHOLE for hens.
a. dead bodies laying in aisles Photo a and b: Patty Mark
b. close up of one of 50 bodies counted in shed. many of the corpses
were covered in mould and badly decomposed.
c. Patty Mark holds a rescued hen with a crossed-over beak. Patty is
wearing the Sydney Olympic Logo shirt which is thought by some to
resemble a hen and is being used to highlight battery hen cruelty
at the Olympic Games. Photo: Gloria Gamboz
d. Romeo Gadze touches the electrified wire that runs under the feed
troughs. Note the low solid metal ceiling of cages. Photo: P Mark
e. Very ill and catatonic hen, unable to move. She was rescued, but
died several hours later. Photo: P Mark
f. Badly debeaked battery hens bursting to get free!!! please help
them all you can... Photo: Patty Mark
For more information |
Patty Mark at