|June 2001 - July 2002 Victoria, NSW and ACT, Australia
PACE Farm Investigation: Belconnen, ACT July 19, 2002
Pace Farm in Belconnen (formerly Parkwood Eggs) is the largest battery hen factory in Canberra. There are 7 sheds on the property confining approximately 245,000 battery hens. The birds are caged in old dilapidated wire cages three tiers high in windowless sheds. Our rescue team has inspected this property on numerous occasions in the past seven years and in 1995 and 1999 made detailed photographic cruelty complaints to the police. The latest inspection showed that conditions continue to be appalling, outside the law and totally unacceptable.
The cage design at Pace Farm Belconnen is the worst we have ever witnessed. The doors are very difficult to open and there is a stationary wire across the cages that means the actual opening is quite small and it is impossible to remove a hen from the cage without causing her stress and possible broken bones.
Our rescue team found hens starving in the manure pits. The huge gap underneath the bottom row of cages on the floor above, allows hens to drop down to a slow and cruel death sinking in their own droppings. The manure pit and cage area were filthy dirty, covered in cobwebs, dust and crawling insects. We filmed a pile of dead bodies left to rot on the floor near the cages and we saw rats eating these corpses.
Many of the birds had respiratory problems and made rasping breathing sounds. The filthy conditions and dust, along with the poor ventilation and strong amnonia in the shed, may be contributing to this. The birds suffered severe featherloss, debeaking and had long overgrown claws. These are all typical conditions of battery hens who have spent months confined in battery cages where they are unable to fulfill their basic instincts and instead peck at each other in their bored and frustrated state.
In all Pace Farm operations inspected, the birds were overcrowded and overstocked. Many birds suffered red and raw inflamed skin and when this touches the wire floor it is extremely painful for them.
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rescuing hens starving to death in the manure pits
these dead hens dumped at the end of the aisle were being eaten by rats
hen suffering severe feather loss
the dirty, overcrowded aisles where the hens spend their entire lives
wound on one of the rescued hens
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some of the more than 20 rescued hens adjusting to life in the sanctuary