The horrific conditions inside an Australian poultry farm revealed

Published 2 April 2015

Chickens with no feathers, decomposed carcasses lying in cages and birds bloated with infections. Bald, emaciated and close to death: this is the shocking images on show inside a caged hen farm in Victoria.

  • Animal Liberation Victoria activists who broke into Wagner’s Poultry Farm  
  • Activists found birds sick and dying in terrible living conditions 
  • Hens were in such a bad state they had to be removed from the cages 
  • Wagner’s Poultry Farm denied they had done anything unethical 
  • Government department found no breaches under animal cruelty laws

Bald, emaciated and close to death: this is the shocking images on show inside a caged hen farm in Victoria.

These were the scenes that greeted Animal Liberation Victoria activists who broke into Wagner’s Poultry Farm in Coldstream in March.

The photographs they took at the Yarra Valley farm give a chilling insight into the bleak world of caged chicken factories.

Watch video on original page

Some of the hens found at Wagner's Poultry Farm were ravaged and dyingSome of the hens found at Wagner’s Poultry Farm were ravaged and dying

Some looked as if they had only a few days left to live such was their conditionSome looked as if they had only a few days left to live such was their condition

Eggs were still being produced at the farm despite the poorly hensEggs were still being produced at the farm despite the poorly hens

Activists said they found birds living in terrible conditions. Amazingly, two weeks earlier government health officials inspected the farm, but gave it the all clear.

However, several hens were in such a bad state that they had to be removed from the cages by the activists as they were in desperate need of veterinary care.

‘During multiple investigations in March, our rescue team discovered deformed, sick and dying hens, filthy conditions and immensely dangerous working conditions, which are now being investigated by Worksafe,’ Noah Hannibal president of Animal Liberation Victoria told Daily Mail Australia.

Activists reveal horrific conditions inside poultry farmActivists reveal horrific conditions inside poultry farm – Watch Video

Hens continue to lay eggs despite a dead carcase lying in the cage beneath themHens continue to lay eggs despite a dead carcase lying in the cage beneath them

Animal Liberation Victoria activists look through the cages to see how healthy the hens are Animal Liberation Victoria activists look through the cages to see how healthy the hens are

‘Photos and video were taken of hens with eyeballs hanging out, with mangled beaks, and completely defeathered hens.

‘Hens spend over a year in small wire cages, as is standard practice in the egg industry. When they are no longer ‘profitable’ they are sent to the slaughterhouse.

‘Our rescue team found many hens in urgent need of veterinary attention, who were clearly not receiving any care.’

But the owner of the 6000-bird farm that sells caged, free-range chicken and duck eggs has denied claims that the animals were not being cared for properly.

Two dead hen carcases are just left on the floor of the caged chicken farmTwo dead hen carcases are just left on the floor of the caged chicken farm

Dirt and dust hang from the hen cages that look as if they haven't been cleaned for agesDirt and dust hang from the hen cages that look as if they haven’t been cleaned for ages

Wagner’s Poultry is a family business that has been operating for over 50 years.

‘Wagner’s is regularly inspected by the Department of Primary Industries alongside a veterinary practitioner to ensure Wagner’s meets all regulatory requirements and adheres to the industries code of practice,’ the company said in a statement.

‘At no time has the industry regulator raised concerns with the animal husbandry practices on Wagner’s property.

‘Wagner’s Chicken Picken shed has been specifically designed to ensure that all our poultry is selected in a stress-free environment rather than being chased and caught in the paddock.’

Nothing to see here: One hen with a mangled beak looks forlornly out through its cage Nothing to see here: One hen with a mangled beak looks forlornly out through its cage

Hundreds of hens stand in rows of cages as they lay eggs in pretty dire conditionsHundreds of hens stand in rows of cages as they lay eggs in pretty dire conditions

Dirty and emaciated hens stand in their cages with no room to moveDirty and emaciated hens stand in their cages with no room to move

The government department responsible for animal welfare in commercial facilities also confirmed two recent inspections did not find any breaches under animal cruelty laws.

However, Mr Hannibal maintained that not only is the farm a hell hole for hens, it is also extremely unsafe for workers.

‘Narrow and flimsy walkways next to the central cages drop directly into manure pits below,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘This presents a huge danger to any humans working in the shed who are at risk of falling down to the excrement pit a floor below – when they attempt to populate and depopulate the cages, or carry out the ‘daily inspection’ required by law.

An Animal Liberation Victoria activist lifts up one of the hens to show how bad it looks
An Animal Liberation Victoria activist lifts up one of the hens to show how bad it looks

Another Animal Liberation Victoria activist takes a dirty and exhausted hen from one of the cages Another Animal Liberation Victoria activist takes a dirty and exhausted hen from one of the cages

Webs and dirt hang from the ceiling and cages where the hens as an Animal Liberation Victoria activist looks on in shock Webs and dirt hang from the ceiling and cages where the hens as an Animal Liberation Victoria activist looks on in shock

‘Many people consider free range eggs to be an ethical alternative to these cruel battery systems that are in operation.

‘But consumers should realise that all eggs, whether they are caged, barn or ‘free range’, cause enormous suffering and death.’

By John Carney for Daily Mail Australia » Full Story