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ALF rescues 25 Battery Hens

New Zealand ALF rescues 25 Battery Hens

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have broken into a battery farm in South Auckland and liberated 25 battery hens from a convicted animal abuser.

The ALF team broke into the farm late Friday night New Zealand time and are reported to have also documented the conditions of the farm. Video footage and photographs were taken, showing the appalling conditions the hens are forced to live in.

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has commented that the material is shocking and that it has investigated the owners of the farm before. It is thought that the SPCA might take further legal action against the owner in view of the film evidence taken by the ALF.

The farm known as Somerdale Poultry Lodge is owned by Mr Van Den Bogaart who has previous convictions for animal cruelty. In 1996 Van Den Bogaart was convicted of neglecting sheep in his care. The Court found that he had without reasonable cause, neglected several sheep so that they suffered unnecessary pain, suffering and distress.

Documents taken from the farm in 2004 revealed that on average, six hens were dying daily per shed. Similar documents taken last night reveal that it is not uncommon for up to 22 hens to die in one single day. Activists found several dead hens littering the floor of the sheds.

Rochelle Rees of Auckland Animal Action commented "The footage and photos we received clearly show that the conditions at Somerdale have deteriorated since 2004, most notably the piles of dead hens left to rot and decompose in the sheds.

We are extremely pleased about this liberation as 25 hens will now lead happy, healthy lives outdoors in natural conditions. They will be able to walk, enjoy the sun and socialize with each other instead of being cramped together in tiny cages in a dark shed.

We especially applaud and encourage such courageous actions as this one, as the government have proven they are incapable of acting to end the suffering. By failing to abolish battery farming, the government has recklessly neglected these animals and condemned them to a lifetime of distress and suffering."

The communiqué issued by the group responsible for the raid stated that: "Tonight we broke into the Somerdale Poultry Lodge with the aim of liberating hens from this hell hole. While inside we also documented the disgusting and inhumane conditions which these birds are made to endure. We were sickened and overwhelmed by the smell that came from within the shed. Once inside we found that this smell was coming from dead birds piled around the shed and the piles of excrement from the thousands of birds caged inside the shed."

The communiqué goes on to detail what the group found when they entered the shed "Inside the shed we found over 4 chickens in each cage in a near pitch black environment. The feet of these birds were growing through the bottom of the cages causing untold misery during the short lives of these birds. Grown solely for profit these birds will have no opportunity to experience a natural life and will know only these filthy cages. The wings of many of the birds in the shed were severely damaged with open wounds and damaged wings. While we were there we saw and heard many rats which were most likely responsible for the birds' injuries.

The communiqué concludes "While animals are kept in conditions like these for the production of eggs we will continue to liberate animals and expose the sickening cruelty behind your meal."

Photos at: http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/72275/index.php
TV1 story at: http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/488120/958611

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