Patty Mark with rescues
One woman has dedicated her life to saving abused animals but not
everyone agrees with her tactics. Liz Cincotta reports.
Patty Mark has been to prison twice. Her first spell was three days at
Fairlea Women's Prison where she shared a cell with a woman who had
murdered her husband. Her second - a 10-day stint three years later -
began in a police lock-up and ended in a Deer Park jail. The later
experience was so frightful she didn't speak about it for a year.
Mark, 58, who is founder and president of Animal Liberation Victoria
(ALV) has faced court many times, both prison terms were for the
charge of trespass after she broke into a battery hen factory farm to
retrieve sick and dying hens.
For Mark, the path to activism began innocently enough, when in 1978
her husband handed her a library book about animal liberation. "It
really opened my mind. After I read it I put up a notice in the local
milk bar that said 'Help the Hens'. We had 17 people and that was how
ALV started," Mark says.
Similarly, on another occasion, Mark was so disturbed by what she
found at a broiler chicken factory she called the police from inside a
shed and pleaded for their help. "There were hundreds of dead chicks
in the shed. When the police officer arrived and stuck his head in and
saw it he was so upset he actually helped us take 50 crippled birds to
the vet," Mark says.
Emotionally the rescue work does take its toll but Mark says being
upset or feeling depressed doesn't help the bigger picture. "My
release is that I have a few of the rescued animals around me at home.
I see them in the sun, I see them dust bathing and to watch them like
that makes my whole day."