Author Topic: Pace poultry egg farm blaming messenger for appalling conditions  (Read 5453 times)

WA Export News

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6669
  • Karma: +4/-0
Pace poultry egg farm blaming messenger for appalling conditions
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2014, 03:46:30 PM »
Pace Farm denies cruelty to chickens         
  • 22 minutes ago August 20, 2014 3:24PM
  Animals Australia - footage of a chicken farm

Animals Australia - footage of a chicken farmTHEY are the photos too shocking to put on the homepage.
But these pictures and footage allegedly taken inside a farm which supplies eggs to Australia’s largest producer, has sparked a second investigation into the battery cage facility.

The facility in regional NSW — a contractor to Pace Farm — had a complaint made against it last year and again this year.

WARNING: Graphic images below

The shocking footage shows hens being kept in appalling conditions and has been released exclusively to by Animals Australia.

The footage, which was given to the animal rights group anonymously, shows hens surrounded by massive piles of faeces and trapped beneath rows of packed caged hens.
     The hens stand on wire mesh, their waste drops below. Picture: Animals Australia height=488   The hens stand on wire mesh, their waste drops below. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied
The video, which the animals rights group says was taken inside the facility this year, also shows birds being kept in overcrowded cages, some with feathers missing.

According to Animals Australia, those trapped below the cages are forced to find food among the huge piles of waste, often eating their own eggs or whatever scraps they can find in the piles of
waste which surround them.

Animals Australia has provided with a letter its lawyers have sent to the RSPCA regarding both complaints.

     The shocking price of your eggs height=488   This hen is seen foraging among piles of waste and animal droppings. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied

The first complaint was investigated by RSPCA NSW and the Animal Welfare League NSW and the second is currently being investigated by RSPCA NSW.

According to Pace Farm, the farm at the centre of the allegations is Egg Corp Assured (ECA) under Australian Egg Corporation Ltd’s industry audit program.

This means that: “Consumers can look to ECA as a mark of a quality product produced under strict guidelines.”

A letter given to from lawyers acting for Pace Farm, said it was aware of the footage but questioned whether it was taken inside the facility.

Solicitor Stephen Gorry said the footage was simply a deliberate attempt by activists to discredit his client.

Mr Gorry said while the footage, which he says was obtained illegally, was no doubt shocking, the birds had probably been deliberately let out by activists.

“I think it is important to set the record straight in relation to the footage that I and my client can only assume is the same footage we have seen, he said in the letter.

“It is footage that we understand was illegally obtained by Animals Australia or parties associated with it, and which has been supplied in the last few months to many of our client’s major
customers, clearly in an attempt to damage the business and reputation of Pace Farm.”

Mr Gorry said many Pace Farm customers who have seen the footage have made their own inquiries and were happy with the answer they received.

“If the footage that you have seen is the same as that seen by us, then you will no doubt be shocked that birds appear to have escaped from their cages,” he said.

“It might sound trite, but cages are meant to keep birds in, and not let them escape.

“It is beyond doubt that activists, either from Animals Australia or some other presumably like minded organisation, have opened cages and allowed birds to escape, with a view to obtaining their preferred (hopefully shocking) footage.”

He added it was difficult to take the word of an organisation whose goal it was to destroy the business and reputation of his client.

Mr Gorry said his client’s contractor complied with all legislation and requirements in terms to bird numbers per cage, which stood at six but would be reduced to five by next year.

“Independent audits and customer audits take place regularly to ensure animal welfare and food safety standards are met,” he said.

But Animals Australia said the footage simply proved egg producers can’t be trusted when it came to ensuring animal welfare standards.

“The conditions inside are appalling and constitute multiple animal welfare breaches including overcrowding in cages,” Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk told

     Animals Australia says six hens in one cage is evidence of overcrowding. Picture: Animals height=488   Animals Australia says six hens in one cage is evidence of overcrowding. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied

“Birds in poor body condition were found abandoned in manure pits below the cages, and without access to food or water.”

Lyn White, Animal Australia’s Campaign Director, added the problem with factory farming was that it was tempting for businesses to put profit ahead of animal welfare.

“This facility has twice been exposed breaching regulations yet it carries the stamp of approval of the peak egg industry body.

“You cannot look at these poor birds crammed together and morally justify the lives they are forced to lead. It is tragic.”

Ms White said while caged eggs were obviously cheaper than free-range eggs, they are a heavy price for the animals and called for independent auditing to ensure better welfare standards.

     This hen forages for scraps on a massive pile of chicken waste. height=488   This hen forages for scraps on a massive pile of chicken waste. Source: Supplied
However, Ms White added the only way to stop this happening again was for consumers to not buy caged eggs and for the product to be phased out all together.

“Animal protection groups are united in their call for the battery cage eggs to be phased out,” she said.

“Continuing to imprison millions of birds this way in Australia is indefensible — especially when other countries have recognised and acted on this cruelty.”

In a reply to, RSPCA NSW Chief Inspector David O'Shannessy confirmed the complaint about the contractor farm was currently under investigation.

“The current complaint is still an ongoing investigation and as such it would be inappropriate for me to provide the information that has been requested,” he said.

The previous complaint was jointly handled by the RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League NSW.

     The hens which were allegedly filmed inside the facility. height=488   The hens which were allegedly filmed inside the facility. Source: Supplied
Damien Thiele, an inspector for the Animal Welfare League NSW confirmed to that inspectors had visited the property following a previous complaint.

No animals were seized, but inspectors noted a number of problems, and two fines were issued.

“Our inspector was assisted by a regional RSPCA inspector and a number of issues were identified and directions were given to the manager of the facility,” he said.

“Our organisation issued two penalty notices.”

     These hens are kept in wire cages. height=488   These hens are kept in wire cages. Source: Supplied
He said the facility was very large. The stock is located in two sheds, with each shed containing 10,000 cages, holding approximately 60,000 chickens.

Inspectors revisited the facility in June last year and found it had complied with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations.

Pace Farm is the largest family owned and operated company providing eggs across Australia and “are proud to be the preferred ingredient for many national and international hotels, restaurants, food manufacturers and family kitchens” according to its website.

It also states: “Pace Farm Eggs are sourced from the most modern farms, from the healthiest hens and treated with the greatest care.”

     Hens stacked high in rows of cages. height=488   Hens stacked high in rows of cages. Source: Supplied

It also goes on to say the company has invested heavily in developing innovative, state of the art facilities to exceed worldwide standards in flock care, product quality, environmental impact and biosecurity.

And it adds its farms are regularly subject to independent audits to ensure their compliance with national and international accreditation schemes.

Mr Gorry said while there was no doubt free range eggs were growing in popularity, caged eggs remain popular with consumers.

“I would like to point out that consumers buy more caged eggs than any other egg in Australia, indeed that is the situation replicated all over the world. Certainly free range and cage free eggs are growing in popularity, with Pace Farm leading the way to meet customer demand,” he said.

But according to the RSPCA’s poultry policy, hens should not be kept in cages at all.

It says: “RSPCA Australia is opposed to the keeping of poultry (layer hens and breeders) in cages — be they conventional or enriched — because of the restrictions and adverse effects that these housing methods have on a bird’s movement, social interactions and behaviour.”

Instead the animal charity said it supported housing systems that protected the welfare of the individual bird and “in which the hens can perch, roost, dustbathe, forage for food, satisfy their
urge to lay their eggs in a nest and in which stocking density is appropriate to allow hens to stand properly, walk and stretch or flap their wings.”

     Some of the hens are pictured without feathers or with a lot missing. Picture: Animals Au height=488   Some of the hens are pictured without feathers or with a lot missing. Picture: Animals Australia Source: Supplied
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 03:52:22 PM by WA Export News »