The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973


Nuns face demo over battery hens

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 Badby.
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.
Within 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.
After nearly two hours the Mother Superior agreed to meet a delegation.
But 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.
"In 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.
She 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."
She 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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