By HAMISH STUART - NZPA | Monday, 15 January 2007
Expect more missions to "liberate" battery hens, a veteran activist says in the wake of the latest raid on a battery hen farm.
Mark Eden, from the Open Rescue Team and himself a hen house raider, applauded the raid on the Auckland poultry farm by so-far-anonymous members of a group calling itself the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
The group "liberated 25 battery hens from a life of cruelty and suffering", as well as documenting the conditions inside the farm late on Friday night, according to a communique released by the underground group.
Attempts to contact the owner of the farm were today unsuccessful.
Activists were raiding farms more often now due to frustration the Government would not put an end to battery hen farming, Mr Eden said.
Even the more moderate activists were growing more in favour of the raids, he said.
Last year, ALF had carried out at least three or four raids on farms in the Auckland area, he said.
Two farms in Wellington had been raided, as well as a farm in Foxton in November -- spearheaded by Mr Eden.
However, the activists usually escaped charges.
"It seems the farmers are afraid to prosecute. They don't want to attract more attention by going to court," Mr Eden said.
"There are over 100 battery farms in the country. There would be at least one in every main city."
Mr Eden said so far he had not been charged over his involvement in the Foxton raid.
Animal Action Auckland spokeswoman Rochelle Rees said that ALF had carried out "about a dozen" raids on battery hen farms last year, and were probably planning more operations in the future.
In the latest raid, the activists found up to seven chickens crammed into cages designed for three. Some had open wounds, she said.