Farming Agony to Satisfy Our Demand

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Farming Agony to Satisfy Our Demand

By JENNY MOXHAM:
September 3rd, 2011
Geelong Advertiser

These establishments are only built because the public chooses to eat chickens. Stop eating them and none of these monstrosities will need to be built.

Bellarine Peninsula residents are up in arms over a proposal to build a 339,000-bird broiler farm at Wallington.

They're furious because they claim the proposed mega-farm will cause an offensive odour, an unsightly view and frequent and heavy traffic on their normally peaceful rural roads.

Bellarine MP Lisa Neville said she was aware of their concerns and would be encouraging them to make their objections to council.

Those commenting on the Geelong Advertiser website had various points of view regarding whether or not the farm would be an asset or a liability to the region.

Interestingly, however, only one person made reference to the chickens.

This was Max of Geelong who wrote: "Stop eating chickens. That should be the first step in your protest."

Max was right, of course. These establishments are only built because the public chooses to eat chickens. Stop eating them and none of these monstrosities will need to be built.

Stop eating chickens and you will no longer be complicit in the cruel and heartless exploitation of animals.

Intensively farmed chickens like all factory farmed animals are deprived of every basic comfort and need. They are deprived of sunshine, fresh air and space to move around.

Broilers birds raised for their flesh are packed inside sheds with up to 64,000 other birds and are "grown" to adult size in just six weeks. A combination of selective breeding plus growth stimulants causes their bodies to grow at an abnormally rapid rate, which has a devastating and detrimental effect on their health.

The rapid growth causes widespread crippling and lameness due to the extreme weight forced on to young, unformed bones. By the time they reach slaughter weight, all broilers are in chronic pain.

Many crippled birds, unable to access water, die painfully and slowly of thirst. As well, birds suffer from respiratory problems caused by the build-up of ammonia and dust in the sheds.

Because their litter is never changed, they must sit or lie on the ever-accumulating pile of ammonia-laden droppings, resulting in hock burn. Selective breeding has also led to a syndrome associated with the inability of the heart to adapt to the rapid increase in body size.

Called acute death syndrome, the cause of death is heart failure and pulmonary edema, with the birds essentially drowning due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.

I'm sure that if Bellarine Peninsula residents were asked if they were opposed to animal cruelty they would immediately answer yes, but for some reason there seems to be a tendency to forget about farmed animals.

How many Addy readers felt gladdened by last week's story of the rescue of the two starving dogs by a Torquay woman? Most, I would imagine, yet surely chickens are just as deserving of our compassion and kindness.

Chickens are not mindless, unfeeling blobs. They are intelligent, sensitive creatures that experience pain and suffering in much the same way as dogs or humans.

Whilst offensive odour, unsightly view and heavy traffic are all important reasons for opposing mega-factory farms, it's surly a sad indictment on our society that only issues that have an impact on humans are deemed worthy of consideration.


Jenny Moxham is an animal rights activist. She lives in Melbourne.