Friday, May 29, 2009

Would you like yours fried, poached, scrambled or boiled?

My blogging of late, as foreshadowed, has diminshed as the follies of renovation provide me with a second full time job.

But here, with emphases added by me for highlighting-of-disgustingness purposes, is an article from today's Mercury.

Horror. Egg production has little to recommend it over slaughterhouses.

Fine for rotting chickens

A MARGATE egg producer has been fined $3000 for leaving decomposing chicken carcases in cages with live hens.

Glen Peter Balke was found guilty in the Hobart Magistrates Court today of doing an act which caused pain to an animal and failing to provide veterinary treatment to a sick or injured animal.

Balke did not attend today's hearing and his guilt was determined on the basis of a written statement made by Department of Primary Industries agricultural officer Colin Jessup.

Mr Jessup did an audit of Balke's Minchins Rd farm on March 4 last year and removed 18 dead birds from cages that housed live laying hens.

"The birds were easy to detect by the smell of decomposing tissues," Mr Jessup said.

It appeared many of the hens had been dead for up to two weeks and one was being cannibalised.

"The carcases had been trodden on and were pressed deeply into the mesh on the bottom of the cage," Mr Jessup said.

"Some had manure on top of them and I noted eggs laid by the other birds in the cage either on top of or against the decomposing birds."

That indicated poor hygiene standards for egg production and threatened the welfare of the live birds, Mr Jessup said.

The hens were forced to roost and sleep on top of the carcases and would have had difficulty feeding and standing at full height in their cages, he said.

Mr Jessup returned to the farm two weeks later and found another five long-term dead birds with a "strong smell of decomposing flesh" in cages with live hens.

He went to remove another apparently dead hen and found it to be alive, but comatose.

"It was clearly well beyond retrieval and needed to be put down to stop it being walked on and suffering," Mr Jessup said.

Another 27 carcases were found on the floor alongside cages in a shed.

"I was baffled over why they were not removed from the shed for hygiene and smell reasons," Mr Jessup said.

In an interview Balke acknowledged that a hen living on top of a dead bird would have experienced pain or suffering.

He said the dead birds were not removed on a daily basis because of "labour pressures".

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