Animal Liberation Victoria succeeded in rescuing 20 broiler chickens
on January 28 after a series of undercover investigations during
Australia's recent heat wave at the FOWL FOLLY broiler chicken factory
in Parwan, Victoria (approximately 40 minutes north of Melbourne).
The rescue team had been at this same property five years ago and
made complaints, yet nothing was done and now the farm has doubled
in size to four sheds each holding 40,000 birds. FOWL FOLLY is contracted
out to BAIADA POULTRY, who supply KFC amongst others.
The team found thousands of crippled birds, all babies. (Broiler
chickens are 'meat' birds raised for their flesh and are killed
at the age of 6 weeks old, when they are already the size of adult
birds due to genetic breeding... their young bones simply cannot
hold their weight). Their mothers, the broiler breeders are only
fed every other day.
An appeal for help was immediately sent to the Chief Commissioner
of Police in Victoria (this letter follows which will also give
further details of conditions). We also rang the local police station
and asked them to investigate. The Sargent rang the RSPCA to request
them to attend (the RSPCA consistently ignore our appeals for help).
Ironically the night in-between the entire shed was cleared and
totally depopulated and Animal Liberation Victoria had a death threat
on its answer machine.
A vet examined the birds and most were immediately euthanased with
the same prognosis for all but two who may survive for a short time
with regular nursing care. (only two of the birds could walk, and
then only for short times).
The attached photos show the inside of the
shed, the rescued birds, the vet and sadly where the birds generally
end up. Further details and photographs will be on our websites
www.openrescue.org and www.alv.org.au
in the next few days.
on behalf of the rescue team for all animals, patty
LETTER TO CHIEF COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Chief Commissioner of Police (Victoria)
Corporate Communications Division
Victoria Police Centre
637 Flinders Street
Melbourne VIC 3005
AUSTRALIA January 29, 2003
Dear Chief Commissioner,
APPEAL FOR HELP AND CRUELTY COMPLAINT
I write to you with a heavy heart but with hope that you can possibly
make a difference. At least this feeling is within me.
For twenty-five years I have been working in Victoria to help animals,
especially those confined in intensive factory farms, yet conditions
have never been worse and are deteriorating. The Victorian Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA) is in itself a solid benchmark
of what needs to happen to protect animals.
Sadly, there are Codes of Practice and general lack of enforcement
that stand in the way of the true meaning of the POCTAA. Many of
your police officers over the years have cared and tried to help,
many have not, but across the board they refer all our cruelty concerns
to the RSPCA. In the POCTAA, police have authority to prosecute
for cruelty, but invariably they refer us to the RSPCA as they are
considered to be the "experts". But, in this matter they
aren't and for whatever reasons, the RSPCA have failed to act for
these animals and are now even in business with the factory farmers
- those we are appealing to them to investigate. This situation
is having dire and deadly circumstances for animals. And the public,
myself included, can no longer have faith that our laws will be
enforced to protect animals.
Furthermore in the early eighties (under Minister for Agriculture
Ian Smith) the rights of private citizens to prosecute for cruelty
were removed from the POCTAA. I hope you can realise how desperate
this situation is. And I know too well and have too often witnessed
the overwhelming and long-standing suffering of millions of animals
in our state.
Broiler Chicken Cruelty Complaint
Of immediate concern is a factory farm our rescue team visited several
times during this current heat wave. I have been to this property
on numerous occasions in 1998 and witnessed violations of the POCTAA.
I reported this to both the RSPCA and the then Minister for Agriculture
(Pat McNamara). Nothing was done and now the place has doubled in
We could see though the ventilation fans many dead bodies and birds
too weak and crippled to even stand. The misery was overwhelming
and the stench nauseating. We tried over several nights to gain
access to these birds to give them some help and to document their
distress and what I believe to be their routine torture.
Yesterday, in desperation (and with regret) we felt obliged to force
the door to gain entry. It was absolute desecration of life in this
shed. Some corpses had been removed, others were still there rotting;
but most alarming were the large numbers of very ill, crippled and
deformed birds. The air was putrid and foul, and the water was warm
and totally out of reach of the crippled birds. These birds are
only babies about 6 weeks old, but the size of adult birds. I believe
this is another reason why most sat slumped on the smelly floor,
because their baby bones simply couldn't hold their weight. There
were also roosters in the shed which points to further poor management,
with partial depopulation obviously leaving various birds to spend
long times in the miserable conditions.
Our rescue team had only to bend over and pick up as many of these
crippled birds as we could carry. Thousands (literally) more were
left in their sad state of deformity, ill health and inability to
reach water. We managed to get 20 of these baby chickens out of
harms way. These birds are currently being nursed and rested, but
I have no doubt that after the vet examines them, she/he will advise
euthanasia as the only kind option. Only two of these birds can
walk, and then only barely, the others lay flopping about, unable
to even stand. There are many others in the shed just like them.
Can you please get some of your police officers (animal-sympathetic
ones if possible) to investigate this situation. The farm is called
FOWL FOLLY and is located on Browns Lane in Parwan, near Baccus
Marsh. There are four sheds on the property each holding some 40,000
chickens. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.
And I respectfully also ask that you do all you can to somehow see
that the POCTAA is indeed enforced as it was intended. Perhaps by
setting up a special branch within the Police Force that regularly
and routinely ensures the POCTAA is enforced and somewhere the public
can feel confidence in turning to.
Thank you for any help and understanding in this serious matter.
Believe me, these innocent little birds are suffering greatly, and
any person who would witness their pathetic condition would be horrified
and heartbroken. I know I am.
Patty Mark, President
Animal Liberation Victoria
Click on images for larger
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.|
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
(UPC Fact Sheet - "Broiler" Chicken Skeletal Problems in the U.S.)