|January 29, 2003 Victoria, Australia
Chief Commissioner of Police (Victoria)
Corporate Communications Division
Victoria Police Centre
637 Flinders Street
Melbourne VIC 3005
January 29, 2003
Dear Chief Commissioner,
APPEAL FOR HELP AND CRUELTY COMPLAINT
I write to you with a heavy heart but with hope that you can possibly make a difference. At least this feeling is within me.
For twenty-five years I have been working in Victoria to help animals, especially those confined in intensive factory farms, yet conditions have never been worse and are deteriorating. The Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTAA) is in itself a solid benchmark of what needs to happen to protect animals.
Sadly, there are Codes of Practice and general lack of enforcement that stand in the way of the true meaning of the POCTAA. Many of your police officers over the years have cared and tried to help, many have not, but across the board they refer all our cruelty concerns to the RSPCA. In the POCTAA, police have authority to prosecute for cruelty, but invariably they refer us to the RSPCA as they are considered to be the "experts". But, in this matter they aren't and for whatever reasons, the RSPCA have failed to act for these animals and are now even in business with the factory farmers - those we are appealing to them to investigate. This situation is having dire and deadly circumstances for animals. And the public, myself included, can no longer have faith that our laws will be enforced to protect animals.
Furthermore in the early eighties (under Minister for Agriculture Ian Smith) the rights of private citizens to prosecute for cruelty were removed from the POCTAA. I hope you can realise how desperate this situation is. And I know too well and have too often witnessed the overwhelming and long-standing suffering of millions of animals in our state.
Broiler Chicken Cruelty Complaint
Of immediate concern is a factory farm our rescue team visited several times during this current heat wave. I have been to this property on numerous occasions in 1998 and witnessed violations of the POCTAA. I reported this to both the RSPCA and the then Minister for Agriculture (Pat McNamara). Nothing was done and now the place has doubled in size.
We could see though the ventilation fans many dead bodies and birds too weak and crippled to even stand. The misery was overwhelming and the stench nauseating. We tried over several nights to gain access to these birds to give them some help and to document their distress and what I believe to be their routine torture.
Yesterday, in desperation (and with regret) we felt obliged to force the door to gain entry. It was absolute desecration of life in this shed. Some corpses had been removed, others were still there rotting; but most alarming were the large numbers of very ill, crippled and deformed birds. The air was putrid and foul, and the water was warm and totally out of reach of the crippled birds. These birds are only babies about 6 weeks old, but the size of adult birds. I believe this is another reason why most sat slumped on the smelly floor, because their baby bones simply couldn't hold their weight. There were also roosters in the shed which points to further poor management, with partial depopulation obviously leaving various birds to spend long times in the miserable conditions.
Our rescue team had only to bend over and pick up as many of these crippled birds as we could carry. Thousands (literally) more were left in their sad state of deformity, ill health and inability to reach water. We managed to get 20 of these baby chickens out of harms way. These birds are currently being nursed and rested, but I have no doubt that after the vet examines them, she/he will advise euthanasia as the only kind option. Only two of these birds can walk, and then only barely, the others lay flopping about, unable to even stand. There are many others in the shed just like them.
Can you please get some of your police officers (animal-sympathetic ones if possible) to investigate this situation. The farm is called FOWL FOLLY and is located on Browns Lane in Parwan, near Baccus Marsh. There are four sheds on the property each holding some 40,000 chickens. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.
And I respectfully also ask that you do all you can to somehow see that the POCTAA is indeed enforced as it was intended. Perhaps by setting up a special branch within the Police Force that regularly and routinely ensures the POCTAA is enforced and somewhere the public can feel confidence in turning to.
Thank you for any help and understanding in this serious matter. Believe me, these innocent little birds are suffering greatly, and any person who would witness their pathetic condition would be horrified and heartbroken. I know I am.
Patty Mark, President
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