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SAFE says Ministry for Primary Industries is failing animals

An exposé which aired on Newshub Live last night showed dying, dead and rotting hens on a Whangārei colony cage farm. The footage from Northern Eggs showed bodies of hens that had been long-dead, trampled-flat into the floor of the cages, in clear breach of the Layer Hen Code of Welfare. This code requires, at a minimum, for dead hens to be removed from cages on a daily basis.

A complaint was made to the about the conditions at Northern Eggs on 10 December 2019, when animal rights organisation SAFE received information about this farm.

Despite the images of bodies being left to rot, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has stated today that the farm, which supplies the Morning Harvest egg brand, is doing nothing wrong.

SAFE Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald says it is appalling that MPI has let this factory farm get away with an obvious breach of animal welfare law.

"Farm workers may miss a dying or dead bird on one day, but if they had been effectively monitoring these hens, they would then see a dead body the next day, or even the next. The rotting bodies shown in the footage, prove that hens have been left for days if not longer."

In 2016, similar footage of dying, dead and rotting hens was captured at Heyden Farms in the Waikato, a farm that also supplies Morning Harvest. A complaint was again made to MPI, but again the farm avoided prosecution.

Only approximately one per cent of animal welfare complaints made to MPI end in prosecution.

"This is a case where MPI, again, seems to deliberately be turning a blind eye to factory farms breaking even the lowest minimum animal welfare standards. While MPI is missing in action, animals are suffering."

"New Zealand should be better than this. We urgently need an independent agency for animal welfare, with the powers, the funding and the will to effectively stop animal suffering. It is time for our Government to take animal welfare seriously and create a new agency for animals. Labour and the Greens promised to ban colony cages during the 2017 election. It is time for them to act."


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