|June 2001 - July 2002 Victoria, NSW and ACT, Australia
PACE Farm Investigation: Hanwood, NSW July 17, 2002
Pace Farm now own and operate the old Bartter battery hen factory in Hanwood (outside Griffiths NSW). There are eleven huge single tier sheds on this property. They are very old and dilapidated with wooden slatted sides, many in disrepair. The cold wind blows through the sheds. We only accessed one shed on the property (which had its lights on) The shed had just been depopulated and the accumulated faecal droppings from all the hens reached to the bottom of the cages. The cages were very old and many were in disrepair. We noticed several hens roaming through the manure piles, so we entered the shed (see shed below marked X).
To our horror we found several birds who were literally buried in wet faeces, with only their heads protruding. We managed to pull four of these birds out to safety, others had to be left behind. The rescue team routinely finds hens left deserted and stuck in faecal matter in the manure pits. Employees at battery hen farms tell us that when the bulldozers come in to remove the manure they just scoop up these birds who get crushed or buried alive in their faeces. We believe this is common practice on huge battery hen farms.
The hens we rescued were given warm baths and dried. All had long overgrown claws, some 2 cms in length, which we trimmed. They were unable to walk (like any battery hens anywhere they had never had a chance to walk in their lives).
The hens had red and raw skin (erythema) which could have been caused by ammonia burns from the faeces. They were dehydrated, emaciated, and their combs were turning black. It was a pitiful sight and a clear case of cruel neglect by Pace Farms to leave birds in such conditions.
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aerial shot of the hanwood egg factory
left to slowly die in the manure pits
lives saved by the animal rescue team
rescued hen about to have a bath
all cleaned up and having a drink
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the rescued hens enjoying their first taste of freedom