ALV Locks Down in Egg Factory to Bring Police Attention to Cruelty
In the early hours of 5 April 2012, four women from Animal Liberation Victoria chained themselves inside a hen factory in Victoria. All four women (Patty Mark, Felicity Andersen, Jo Osborne and Lisa Manning) were already on bail not to go within 100m of this particular farm after staging a rooftop protest there alongside 11 other activists in May 2011. Despite previous investigations, complaints and the rooftop protest no authority has taken any notice of ALV's pleas to help the hens inside this hellhole. The lockdown was an attempt to bring more awareness for these birds and to phy sically make the police enter the sheds (the police have the power to prosecute the farm for cruelty and have previously refused to go into the sheds). The police did act quickly, but to block off the road (preventing media and our support crew coming near the property) declaring it a crime scene and doing their best to remove them from the shed quickly.
Conditions inside the shed were typical of what has been found previously. Sick birds, dead bodies, extreme featherloss, overcrowding, debeaking, birds fighting and extremely stressed. The place was filthy with rats and mice running around, droppings, dust and cobwebs everywhere and the air was so foul that the four women had to wear professional gas masks in the shed to avoid putting themselves at risk of sickness. The police made several attempts to talk the women into leaving , but at the same time absolutely refused to meet their appeals to bring in an independent vet and do their own cruelty investigation. The relevant sections of both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Code of Practice/Poultry were handed to the Police. Finally, after four and a half hours locked down in the shed, 8-10 police surrounded the women in the middle of the aisle, demanded they leave and then forcibly removed them by literally dragging and manhandling them along the filthy floor of the shed.
After being retained at the police station for interview for several hours the women were released on bail with a surety and further charged with trespass and criminal damage (for a padlock worth $25 which they did not break).
Prior to the lockdown a second rescue team had helped film and document the conditions of the birds in the shed, photos can be seen here...
14 hens were rescued from the shed and several of them taken to the vet so their pitiful condition could be documented. You can see details and photos from the vet visit here...
Despite the attempt by the police to prevent media coming near the egg factory, the lockdown was reported in The Age, The Herald Sun, The Leader newspaper. And importantly footage of the appalling conditions for the hens was shown on the Channel 10 news that evening.
The Age: Charged activists in second chook break
The Herald Sun: Women chain themselves together in egg farm protest
The Leader: Animal Liberation protesters arrested, bailed
The defendants are due to appear in Frankston Magistrates Court on 23 April 2012 at 9.30am.
ALV would like to thank the four women, the openrescue team and all the support crew who worked so hard to bring the plight of egg laying hens to public attention.