"In memory of recently deceased animal rights activist Neil Lea, and to highlight the plight of animals used and abused in the farming industry, volunteers gained entry to a hen breeding facility during the early hours of Monday 23rd July.
Whilst mainstream media continually portray poor farming methods as taking place only in countries outside of the UK, the reality is very different. Routine abuse of animals, along with blatant flaunting of the basic Animal Welfare Legislation happens on a daily basis in the UK – all before it ends up on our dinner plates.
The laws created are impossible to uphold due to the intensive methods used to harvest animals for food – they are a contradiction in themselves. This was evident once again to the concerned individuals who entered the undisclosed farm in the Petersfield area, Hampshire.
These hens were spending their lives in long windowless units, each one oozing large amounts of chicken waste and whirring with the sound of mechanised air conditioning due to the dust and ammonia that saturates the air. While they are free to roam on the ground, their natural desires cannot be met by the mechanised feeding systems, soiled urea-saturated floor or unnatural level of overcrowding, all of which cause horrendous illness. Some birds were lying crippled and dying on the floor, having being crushed by the others or simply ill due to the conditions.
These particular hens were being grown to be sold to egg farms, where they face further confinement – most likely crammed into a battery cage the size of an A4 piece of paper with 3 or 4 other hens. After a year and a half of intensive egg production - whether free range, barn or battery - the hens are then transported and slaughtered for cheap pies or dog food. It is believed that the hens are no longer as profitable by this point, and a whole new batch is shipped in. The cycle continues on and on.
It is for these reasons that volunteers decided to step in and break this cycle of unnecessary violence. 150 young hens were carefully bagged up, transported by foot and then driven to safe homes, where they have woken up and seen daylight for the first time in their lives. They are also now able to sleep on straw, forage, bathe in the sun, groom each other, eat a diet natural to their needs and do all the things that they deserve to do. No living creature should ever have to experience the battery cage, live transport truck, or slaughterhouse worker slicing their throats.
There are other ways this can be stopped without directly taking animals from abusive farming establishments. The only reason this has to take place is because people still choose to eat eggs. Without demand, there is no supply – the best way to help animals stay away from this abuse is not to eat them or their products!
In loving memory of Neil Lea, a dedicated animal rights activist. Your memory will live on in our hearts and our actions.