Action Animal Rescue Team 8/1/2001
Action Animal Rescue Team saves 34 hens in three rescues, now YOUR help is needed... please read on and help us if you can (thanks so much!)

RSPCA CAUGHT IN CONSUMER FRAUD
RSPCA approved Liberty Barnlaid Eggs a Sham

Animal Liberation Victoria's ongoing investigation of PACE FARMS over the past six weeks has saved 34 hens. The Action Animal Rescue Team uncovered damning evidence of abandonment, neglect and gross cruelty to animals. PACE FARMS (the largest producer of eggs in Australia) exploits battery, barnlaid and free range hens at their South Morang Enterprise, north of Melbourne. The barn-laid division is endorsed by the RSPCA under the 'LIBERTY BARN-LAID' label (RSPCA receives royalties for each egg sold).

The rescue team raided the property on three separate occasions: June 20, July 5 and July 18, 2001. The team filmed all three types of production on the property and were able to save 34 hens who were suffering illness and/or injury (19 from the barnlaid sheds, 9 from the battery cages, and 6 from the manure pit beneath them).

The "RSPCA-approved" hens were suffering severe debeaking, much worse than the battery hens. The RSPCA's guidelines stipulate "tipping of the hook of the upper mandible", yet the majority of hens' upper beaks were removed to the nostrils (see photo 1 below). Two hens were found near death in the RSPCA shed and later had to be euthanased by a vet. One weak hen was being cannibalised by the others. Another was catatonic and weighed only 1.2kg, half her normal body weight (see photos 2 and 3).

On July 5th, the team returned to find the barn laid sheds cleared out. Inside the cleared sheds, several hens were found cowering on a pile of dead bodies, they had hardened faecal balls (some the size of large oranges) on their claws. These birds were severely dehydrated, underweight and weak (see photos 4 and 5). A semi-trailer truck stacked high with crates of live birds was left standing out exposed in the dark night. It was cold, windy and raining. The birds made miserable sounds. As all production sheds were being depopulated (emptied), the truck could have contained battery, barn-laid and/or free-range hens.

The team returned yet again on July 18 and found dozens of debilitated and ill battery hens abandoned and left to die in mountains of their own excrement in the pit under their cages. The team were able to rescue six of these birds. Employees of battery hen farms report to the team that hens found in the manure pits are simply bulldozed out with the manure and virtually buried alive.

RSPCA IN BED WITH EGG INDUSTRY

The RSPCA is now in the business of harming animals. Their financial connection with the largest producer of battery eggs in Australia is a total sham and a conflict of interest. The RSPCA should be prosecuting Pace Farms for cruelty, not giving them a golden handshake taking royalties for eggs they claim to be something they're not. (Note: PACE FARMS also gave a 'sponsorship' of $35,000 to the RSPCA in the 1999/2000 financial year) This is not the first time the rescue team has exposed the shonky and misleading business practices of RSPCA-endorsed eggs. The public is being misled, paying nearly twice the price for so called "humane barn-laid eggs."

ANIMAL LIBERATION VICTORIA IS APPEALING TO ACTIVISTS AROUND THE WORLD TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE RSPCA TO CLEAN UP IT'S ACT! Please write/fax/email the National President Dr Hugh Wirth today.

Dr Hugh Wirth, President
RSPCA VIC
3 Burwood Highway
Burwood East VIC 3151
Australia
FAX (03)9224 2200
EMAIL: rspca@vicrspca.aust.com

Tell Dr Wirth (who has been Victorian President of the RSPCA for over 30 years) that as head of the country's most influential animal welfare body he is failing in his duty to protect ALL animals, most notably battery hens. Please put to Dr Wirth two options:

1) The RSPCA immediately sever all ties/financial business agreements with PACE FARMS due to the conflict of interest and then prosecute Pace Farms for cruelty to animals.

or:

2) Ask Dr Hugh Wirth to resign for failure to prevent cruelty to animals.

(some selected background information...)

RSPCA CONTINUALLY FAILS BATTERY HENS

  • In Dr Wirth's 30 year reign at RSPCA (VIC) we are aware of only one cruelty prosecution regarding battery cage systems (this was after they gave evidence in court against the rescue team when police charged team members with trespass. The RSPCA then later prosecuted this farm.)

  • the latest edition of Poultry News - the business magazine for the poultry industry quotes Shirley Holmes (President of the RSPCA NSW) as saying that although caged egg production wasn't her preferred egg production method she realised that in the real world it was here to stay.

  • The RSPCA in South Australia just last week withdrew charges against a battery egg producer in that state claiming, inter-alia, the costs of the case were too high. This case had been touted as an historical breakthrough... This scenario is similiar in most Australian states.

  • RSPCA VIC were embarrassed when footage taken by the rescue team was featured on national TV in 1999 exposing their barn-laid hens crammed like maggots on metal flooring. The birds were being deliberately restricted to a small area of the shed to 'train them to lay in nest boxes'.

PHOTO CAPTIONS TO THE SEVEN ATTACHED PHOTOS:

(photos taken by Patty Mark, Romeo Gadze and Noah Mark)

1) Close up of "RSPCA Approved" Barn Laid Hen rescued from PACE EGGS (South Morang) on June 20, 2001. The majority of hens in the shed were severely debeaked.

2 and 3) "RSPCA approved" Barn Laid hen found abandoned and near death on June 20, 2001 and a few hours later after being rescued and eating a few morsels of food. Sadly, she was so debilitated and underweight that she was euthansized by the vet.



4 and 5) Melanie and Romeo rescuing two of the three hens found cowering on dead bodies on July 5, 2001 in the RSPCA APPROVED Barn-laid shed at PACE EGGS in South Morang. All three had huge hardened faecal balls on their legs and claws and were severely dehydrated. Close-up of hen.



6) Romeo and Patty with three bald battery hens taken from PACE battery cages. Most of the rescued battery hens suffered severe to total featherloss, inflammation and debilitation. (July 5, 2001)


7) One of many battery hens found sinking in her own excrement and abandoned in the manure pit under the cages and left to die. (July 18, 2001)

For more information
about the
Action Animal
Rescue Team,
contact Patty Mark at
amag@ihug.com.au
Action Animal Rescue Team 4/15/2001