From the (Northampton) Chronicle & Echo dated Monday, July 10, 1978
Police were called out yesterday to evict 30 members of the Animal
Liberation Front after they had staged a sit-in at a battery hen unit at
The unit is run by nuns of the Order of the Congregation
of the Passion of Jesus who were taken by surprise as the demonstrators
stormed the religious retreat just after morning prayer.
six minutes four police vehicles were at the scene but the demonstrators
had by then taken over one of the two large buildings in each of which
are 5,000 egg-laying hens.
Parading banners and posters
protesting at what they call the inhumane treatment of the hens, the
demonstrators, who came from all over the country, refused to move until
they were allowed to talk to the Mother Superior.
two hours the Mother Superior agreed to meet a delegation.
one member, Mr. Ronnie Lee (26) of Woodford Green, Essex, said
afterwards: "We were wasting our time as far as the nuns were concerned.
"They just couldn't see our point of view. The nuns are nothing but
hypocrites. The hens are cramped in small cages, four at a time, and in
degrading conditions. The object of our operation, however, was to
attract public attention to the inhumane way of producing eggs. On that
score I suppose we have succeeded."
Another ALF supporter, Mrs.
Diana Edmondson of Milton Malsor, said: "We want to get support of the
general public to stamp out battery hens altogether.
Switzerland pressure from the public has resulted in the Government
introducing legislation to phase it out over a 10-year period. We want
the same thing to happen in this country."
The Mother Superior
denied that the hens were housed in degrading conditions.
said: "Our chickens are quite happy. They sit in their cages and sing
all day long."
The Mother Superior said today: "The condition of
our chickens are better than any other commercial outfit in England. We
have been told this by the Government, and by the RSPCA."
said of the Animal Liberation Front: "These people just won't take no
for an answer. All they are after is publicity, and being religious we
are just special targets."
An Agriculture Ministry vet visited
the Convent last March and found no evidence that the hens were
suffering unnecessary pains or distress.
This was reported in
the House of Commons in May by Dr. Gavin Strang, Parliamentary Secretary
to the Ministry, in a written reply to a question by Hemel Hempstead's
Labour MP, Mr. Robin Corbett.
Reproduced with thanks.
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