Man fined over bid to free battery hens
18th June 2010
AN ANIMAL lover has been fined after attempting to
liberate battery hens from a farm near Wimborne.
Mark Organ, 46, and
seven others had hired a van and gathered cages and bags in order to free
unhealthy or distressed birds late one night in January last year.
They were foiled by a man out walking with a powerful lamp as they
approached a Witchampton farm.
A jury at Bournemouth Crown Court
found Mr Organ guilty of conspiracy to steal, and on Thursday, June 17, he
was ordered to pay £1,515.
Judge James Meston, QC, told Mr Organ:
“It is clear you have a long-standing serious concern about the welfare of
animals, and believe your self to be morally justified in stealing chickens.
“I do not suppose the verdict of the jury will alter your views.
“There was no evidence the farm was run unlawfully or improperly, and it
was at that time running down.”
The targeted unit has since closed
for economic reasons, he added.
Police easily traced Mr Organ, of
Lancing, West Sussex, because he hired the van in his own name, and Judge
Meston said he did not believe the group would have forced entry to a locked
“I understand that in 2012 changes in the law will improve
conditions for poultry,” he said.
“You thought your strong
disapproval for battery hens was in the mainstream part of public opinion,
and I accept that you were just going to get unhealthy birds that might not
have been missed.”
Timothy Greene, defending, said: “This was not an
offence committed for reasons of personal gain, but for beliefs sincerely
held in relation to an issue my client feels strongly about, with others.”