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Tegel challenged over animal welfare


MEDIA RELEASE

Tegel challenged over animal welfare and GE-free birds

Wednesday 29 August 2001. SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) issued a double challenge to poultry industry giant Tegel today in the wake of their announcement that they will no longer feed their chickens genetically modified feed.

SAFE called on Tegel to apply the same logic to their animal welfare standards as they did to deciding whether to feed their chickens genetically modified feed - surveying the public. SAFE also challenged Tegel to commit to a ban on using genetically engineered chickens.

"SAFE is confident the public will strongly object to the cruel intensive farming methods that Tegel uses to produce over 30 million broiler chickens annually. Intensive farming of broiler chickens is one of the most cruel and brutal farming systems. If Tegel is serious about consumer concerns they must look at their animal welfare practices. The public has expressed outraged over cruel intensive farming practices such as battery hen cages and dry sow stalls. Tegel should be concerned that the public could easily turn their attention to how broiler chickens are raised," said Anthony Terry, SAFE Director.

"With over 67 million broiler chickens being reared annually this is the largest intensive farming industry in New Zealand. Broiler chickens are crammed inside huge sheds under artificial lighting that remains on for up to 23 hours a day. Rapid weight gain due to excessive eating results in many birds suffering from severe lameness, bone weakness and heart and lung failure," said Mr Terry.

"SAFE also challenges Tegel over the genetic engineering of animals. In the survey commissioned by the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification it was found that 70 per cent of the public did not approve of the genetic engineering of farm animals. Surely Tegel would not go against this massive public rejection of the genetic engineering of animals. They should not just commit to a ban on feeding their chickens genetically modified feed, they should also commit to a ban on any genetic engineering of chickens," said Mr Terry.

Contact: Anthony Terry, SAFE Director, Ph: 03 379 9711 or 021 611 979

Editor's note: Footage of New Zealand broiler farming available on request.

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