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Animal Rights Protesters Invade Poultry Farm

31st March 2002

Animal Rights Protesters Invade Mainland Poultry Farm

Animal rights activists tore a gate off its hinges and invaded the grounds of Mainland Poultry farm during a protest against battery hen farming yesterday. One person was arrested but later released without charge after protesters prevented the police from leaving with the prisoner by sitting down in front of the police car.

Animal rights protesters from all over the South Island are in Waikouaiti this weekend to protest against battery hen farming. Waikouaiti (north of Dunedin) is the site of the biggest battery hen farm in New Zealand, owned by Mainland Poultry, and houses over 360,000 hens in tiny wire cages.

Clare Havell, spokesperson for Animal Watch Aotearoa, says "Already the biggest battery egg company in New Zealand, Mainland Poultry is expanding to 900,000 hens - animal torment on a grand scale. The hens live in row upon row of barren, dark wire cages, totally unable to express normal patterns of behaviour. The eggs are marketed as 'Country Life', a brand name that couldn't be any further from reality."

On Monday, activists will be holding early morning protests at the homes of local battery farmers and at the home of prominent businessman Howard Paterson, one of the main investors in Mainland Poultry.

Protests will be held at 7.30am Easter Monday at the Mainland Poultry farm on Inverary St, and at the home of Mainland Poultry Farm Manager, Jeff Winmill, Henry Street, Waikouiti. Following these demonstrations protesters will move on to Howard Paterson's house on McGrath Rd.

Clare Havell says, "A battery hen's suffering is extreme and relentless. They don't get a day off and we're not going to let the abusers get a day off either. The discomfort Mainland Poultry's top level management may feel is not even a fraction of the suffering the hens go through. Perhaps if we put them in a tiny dark wire cage for a year they might start to understand."

The Government is currently reviewing the animal welfare codes of practice for battery hen farming and public submissions are expected to be called for later this month. The weekend actions are the beginning of a major campaign against battery farming by animal rights groups all across New Zealand.


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