Meredith, Victoria - Three Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) activists today conducted a daring daylight raid at Happy Hens Egg World, in Meredith. ALV have conducted 20 rescues at the property, each time exposing horrific cruelty to animals. After about ten rescues farm management began increasing security, with electrified fences and trained guard dogs patrolling the property, so that the factory farm is now a Dachau style concentration camp for the 220,000 battery hens caged there. The electrified fence gate is open during daylight hours for worker access.
Prior to being assaulted, the three ALV investigators observed battery hens suffering severe feather loss crammed into rusty old cages. A number of birds were also observed in the manure pits, without access to food or water. After only five minutes of documenting these conditions, the women were set upon by seven farm employees who started physically assaulting them and pushing them along the length of the dirty shed covered in dust and cobwebs.
The women asked the men to please let them go as they were happy to leave the sheds. The violence escalated when one young man approached rescue team member Debra Tranter from behind and put his arms around her, grabbing and squeezing her breasts. Ms Tranter screamed and fell to the ground at which time she was grabbed by both her ankles and dragged along the filthy floor.
Police were called and took photographs of the injuries sustained by the rescue team members, and took their statements. The rescue team members are pressing for charges of sexual and physical assault, in addition to charges of cruelty to animals, to be laid against the farm and its employees.
Debra Tranter, a trained nurse and supervisor said outside the shed: "For eleven years I've been coming to these sheds to document the suffering of these birds. I've never been treated so violently. I kept pleading to these angry males to please let me go as I was quite happy to leave the sheds. I knew the hens were overcrowded and tormented in their tiny cages. But the aggressive treatment of me today by those in charge of these captive hens has only made me more determined to help them."
Patty Mark, ALV President, added: "The bruising and roughing up we received today, highlights the extreme peril these birds are in. Not only are they debeaked, featherless, and dying in tiny cages, but the only ones there for them day to day are these violent and abusive men. We've been campaigning against Happy Hens for eleven years and the sheds were worse than ever. Today the police told us that two weeks ago 70,000 birds died after a mechanical breakdown. This property requires urgent attention by legal authorities."