Unknown Horrors of Parent Bird Sheds   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

HOST: Today on Stop Animal Cruelty, in part one of a two-part program, we focus on the forgotten birds of the broiler and egg-laying industries - the parents of the birds used for egg and meat production.

Our Supreme Master Television correspondent spoke with Patty Mark, the founder and president of Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) in Melbourne, Australia about the heartless treatment of these birds by the chicken industry and the heinous conditions inside of what are known as 『parent bird sheds.』 For over 30 years Patty Mark and Animal Liberation Victoria have been standing up for animal rights and seeking to free animals wherever humans are inflicting cruelty upon them.

ALV focuses on spreading the word about veganism because after many years of lobbying governments, signing petitions, and holding demonstrations, the group believes it's by far the quickest and most effective way to help put an end to the suffering and enslavement of our wonderful animal co-inhabitants. In the early 1990s Patty Mark pioneered the concept of the 『open rescue』 and since then Animal Liberation Victoria has conducted numerous such rescues and investigations at factory farms, feedlots, live export facilities and abattoirs.

During an open rescue, ALV members go to facilities that imprison animals to give them aid and veterinary treatment and to rescue any sick or dying animals. Their living conditions are also recorded on video.

Patty Mark: It's August the 6th, 2007. The smell in here's really bad. But this is a massive farm where the roosters and hens are put in sheds together to lay the eggs that creates the broiler chicken industry. So these are the parent birds. We were in this shed last November. It's now September, so almost a year.

The birds are about a year old. And we're here, to give aid and rescue to any injured and ill birds left unattended in this shed. We're strictly peaceful and vow no harm to anything.

Supreme Master TV: What are parent sheds and when did you first find out about them? And what was your initial reaction?

Patty Mark: Okay, Parent sheds are the hidden and as yet, basically untouched, horror in the animal industry. The majority of people, I've found, have no idea they even exist. I didn't even know they existed until about three or four years ago. I think the chicken industry is the largest land-based animal industry on the planet.

Out of something like 58 billion land animals killed every year, 90% of those animals are chickens. And everybody`s aware now that chicken is cheap and it's fast food and it's really cheap and you can get it every day. And the animal movement globally is focusing now on what they call broiler chickens, which are chickens raised for their flesh.

So the animal movement is now focusing on this industry, but even in the animal movement we focus on the end product, the chicken nuggets, the chicken wings, the buffalo wings or whatever the products are called. We focus on the end product, which needs a lot of focus, but what has been hidden is the foundation of this whole industry.

So the parent birds to me are the foundation of the planet's largest land-based animal industry. And they are the birds who produce the chickens that people eat. So the parent birds also have parents, and they also have parents. So the industry is in the hierarchy. There're four groups.

You have the great-grandparents, the grandparents, the parents and the birds who are consumed. And that whole industry is massive. And in Australia here for instance, there's at any one time there'd be over six million of these parent birds in production.

The first time Animal Liberation found out what these parent sheds are, we were on an open rescue for a barn-laid shed, which are, cage-free hens who also live in really horrendous conditions. So we were at this shed, and when we got there it was depopulated. It was a quiet summer evening so there were no birds there, but we could hear this strange noise. And we said, what is that noise? And it was an eerie sound, and I thought it sounded like it could be chickens, so we just followed our ears because it was like a wailing, it was really quite horrible, and (coming from) two paddocks.

So we got back in the rescue van and we just followed the ears and we found these two huge, massive sheds, and the closer we got, the louder the sounds were.

So we did the rescue there that night and when we first opened the door, I was totally blown away. It was just packed with both hens and roosters and they were in appalling condition. And the noise was just so distressing. They were literally screaming, and the roosters were crowing non-stop. They were mating the hens incessantly.

The hens had no feathers on their backs, they were red and raw. So I did a bit of investigation where we actually were, and I found out that this was a parent bird farm for the egg industry.

Patty: We first viewed these birds in this shed in November 2006. It's now September 2007. They've just been mated ad infinitum. She's got somewhat blisters on her feet here. There's something wrong with her feet. (Poor thing) In there there're blisters. It stinks so bad in this shed you can't imagine the smell, and the manure is built up everywhere. They've been living in their own manure since last November.

Supreme Master TV(f): The Environmental Guidelines for the Australian Egg Industry states:

『The parent stock are productive for about 12 months. At the end of their productive life they are removed for meat processing. The used manure or litter is generally cleaned from the sheds at the end of each 12-month cycle and the process repeated.』

Supreme Master TV(f): Can you comment on that? This is a guideline!

Patty Mark: Yes, exactly and that's something That you read and people will listen to, but when you go into the sheds and actually experience what you've just read, that's what's just chilling, and you gag, your eyes burn, you can't breathe properly, and we're in these sheds at the maximum an hour, but after 15 minutes some of the rescue team have to leave the shed because you can hardly breathe. There're big fans blowing to try to circulate the air. The droppings and the smell is overwhelming.

There're sick birds as well, there's diarrhoea. There's caked flooring and feather dander. It's just the most obscene place. So what they might show, if they (the industry) have their ads is the beginning of the cycle when the birds are still feathered and fairly active, and they're not that big and there's space on the floor.

But even in the parent bird sheds as they get older, they're heavier, you'll never see that footage on the industry website. And the fact that they admit that they never clean out all these droppings, it's the most unhygienic, filthy, disgusting way to produce food.

Supreme Master TV(f): How many hens to a rooster would there have been?

Patty Mark: It's approximately 10 hens to one rooster. And the other thing that I found out, which is also horrific, not in every shed but it happens a lot, the parent birds are in these sheds for approximately 64 weeks or 14 months. The roosters, you can imagine, one rooster to 10 birds, they really get exhausted.

And usually at about 50 weeks they go in and cull the roosters. They kill all the roosters, and then they bring in young fresh roosters to still mate these already exhausted hens. It's called spiking. It's a procedure in the industry to even get more eggs out of these poor birds.

We've been in those sheds as well where they do spiking, and the floors, it's like you're on a moonscape because, keep in mind these birds are in there for over a year, and their excrement and droppings are never removed. And so there're valleys and hills of packed tight excrement with wet droppings.

It's just the most horrific place, and the smell is overpowering and then you add to that the constant mating, the screaming, and there's no, no escape and no release from what they're going through.

HOST: These sheds contain high levels of toxins due to the utterly sordid conditions inside and are unsafe for humans, whether workers or rescuers, to be in for more than a short period of time. As one can imagine, the poisonous surroundings are an even graver danger to the poor birds who are forced to live in the sheds day after day.

Patty Mark: We wear face masks. We wear bio-suits and plastic footing. We disinfect our feet wear, then wear plastic booties, and after just 15 minutes in that shed you actually feel ill.

And a lot of the birds have respiratory problems, and we pick them up and their underbelly has what is called erythema, which is red, raw skin, which again is very painful because they're sitting on their droppings. The ammonia fumes (are there). So the whole thing is just horrible, horrible, horrible.

HOST: Please join us next week for part two of our interview with Patty Mark when she will reveal even more details about the heart-wrenching conditions inside parent bird sheds. We sincerely thank Ms. Mark, all Animal Liberation Victoria volunteers, and those everywhere who are truly making a difference in our world by promoting the kind treatment of animals and the compassionate vegan diet.

May Heaven always help them in every way to successfully propagate their beautiful message.

For more details on Animal Liberation Victoria, please visit www.ALV.org.au
For more information on Open Rescue teams around the world, please visit www.OpenRescue.org


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