March 13, 2012
The Age (Australia)
on a Canberra battery hen farm by animal activists overnight has been
labelled ''one of the worst examples of industrial sabotage in Australia''
by an industry body, which has claimed the attack puts the lives of the
facility's 30,000 hens at risk.
Activists forced entry into the
Parkwood Egg Farm, owned by Pace Farm Pty Ltd, in Macgregor between 11pm and
6am this morning, and allegedly slashed conveyor belts and destroyed grading
and packaging equipment.
The facility is the only battery hen farm in
the ACT, and currently holds about 30,000 chickens, with a total capacity
for well over 100,000. Office equipment was also allegedly damaged,
forklifts were wrecked, and production at the battery egg farm has been
forced to a standstill.
There are no witnesses to the raid and police
have not taken anyone into custody. An anonymous person named ''The
Blackbird'' claimed responsibility for the attack and
posted YouTube footage
that purported to show conditions inside the facility. The vision shows
chickens packed tightly into cages, with barely any room to move. Police
plan to trace the YouTube user who uploaded the video as part of the
Australian Egg Corporation Ltd, which represent the
interests of egg producers, lashed out at the activists, questioning the
accuracy and veracity of the video footage. Corporation managing director
James Kellaway said the animal activists had used battery acid in the raid,
and electric tools to cut up conveyor belts and wreck forklifts.
''These home grown extremists have put at risk the welfare of 30,000 hens
currently housed at the Pace Farm, Canberra,'' Mr Kellaway said. ''It
remains to be seen whether any alternative accommodation can be found [for
the hens] at such short notice. ''The welfare of the hens has been placed in
complete jeopardy as a direct result of this commercial vandalism.''
Those claiming responsibility also issued a statement this morning, warning
Pace Farm to shut down the battery farm and leave the ACT. ''This action was
intended to highlight not simply the atrocities of the 'cage egg', but the
ethical impossibility of justifying the unnecessary torture and murder of
any sentient being,'' the statement read.
The ACT facility was
targeted due to its ''significance as the only factory farm in the seat of
Australia's parliament'', the statement said. The facility has been the
target of numerous attacks and break-ins by animal rights activists in the
Last night's attack was discovered by the farm manager about 6am
this morning. It is believed the offender forced entry through a locked
gate. Staff and management at the farm refused to comment on the incident
The ACT Greens have previously tried to close down the
Parkwood facility, introducing legislation to make the use of battery hens
illegal by 2011. That bill was defeated in the Legislative Assembly in 2009,
with former chief minister Jon Stanhope arguing that a ban would simply
cause Parkwood to relocate production across the border and continue using
The ACT Government had previously offered $1 million to
Pace Farm to convert the facility to use barn eggs, an offer the company has
Animal Liberation ACT, which has long been opposed to the use
of battery hens, has denied knowledge of the attack.