Canberra, Australia--This action by 40 people received
enormous TV, radio and print coverage for 4 days. It made the
front page of the Canberra Times and ran nationally on TV News.
Thirty-eight hens were rescued from Parkwood Eggs--the largest
battery egg factory in the ACT [the Australian Capital Territory,
comparable to Washington, DC] by our undercover rescue team.
Photo by Gloria Gamboz
Distressed and sick hens, this photo and below,
from Monatalto Poultry Farms in Australia.
On Friday, April 2, I entered the first battery shed with 39
other people, all with rescue bags holding first-aid equipment.
The lights automatically came on in the sheds at 4 a.m. and we
began to look for sick and injured hens. Diana Simpson videotaped
I immediately saw that a majority of the hens had gross
inflammation (erythema) and swelling on various parts of their
bodies. The most notable were on the abdominal region and around
the vent area. The erythema was also prevalent on the crop area
of many birds. This is all documented in the video footage.
What gave me particular distress was that the birds
suffering this gross inflammation had no choice but to sit
against a wire floor. This is comparable to a person with severe
bed sores being made to lie on a wire bed frame instead of a
I also witnessed horrific debeaking on the majority of hens,
several combined with a top crossed-over beak. How hard it is for
these deformed, mutilated birds to eat properly.
I removed several very sick birds from the cages and tagged
them with an ID Number. These birds were removed by team members
from the shed at 4:30 a.m. and taken to a veterinarian for
treatment. The birds with severe erythema and swelling were quite
heavy, possibly from excess fluid. This made it hard to get them
out of the cages. The cage door was very difficult to take on and
off. The opening was not large enough to remove the hens without
severely distressing them.
At 5:30 a.m. I rang the police for assistance and urged them
to bring a veterinarian. By the time the police arrived two and a
half hours later, many other sick birds needing immediate medical
attention had been found by other team members working in the
sheds. Several of these hens died later in the morning after our
appeals for veterinary help failed.
Photo by Debra Tranter
One very ill hen had symptoms that suggested Marek's disease
[a fatal viral cancer of the nervous system in factory-farmed
chickens]. She was unable to hold her head up. It just twisted
and curled limp.
The police refused to call a veterinarian. At noon, I and 17
others were arrested and driven to the lock-up cells. I felt
terrible being led out of the shed by police, walking along the
whole length of the shed past the crying hens in their hideous
predicament. . . .
*Patty Mark is the Editor of Animal Liberation Action
Magazine, the quarterly publication of the national organization,
Animal Liberation, in Australia. Patty and her team have been
investigating and documenting the treatment of battery-caged hens
and rescuing these hens since the early 1990s. She has been
jailed numerous times. Patty and her team put the plight of
battery hens before the Australian public through the national
news coverage they've received. Their publicity recently led the
conservative RSPCA to urge the Australian public to boycott
battery hens' eggs.
*Diana Simpson films the conditions inside the hen houses.
Patty Mark told UPC: "Diana is the wonderful, amazing woman on
our rescue team who takes ALL THE VIDEO footage. She is an
exceptionally quiet, shy person. She refuses to speak in public,
but comes into her own once in a shed with her video camera. She
is also one of the bravest people I've ever met. She was hit by a
farmer the last time we were at Montalto Poultry [documenting
conditions and rescuing hens]."
Diana will be with Patty at our
Conference in June!
We Hope to See You, too!