Chicken dumping is a thing, it seems.
We’ve heard of heartless types dumping kittens and puppies, but never before have we heard of chicken dumpers.
That is until we got wind of a chicken-dumping incident at Belmont South.
Topics was told that a resident by the name of Damian Lavercombe was walking his dog when he came across a “flock of dumped chickens”.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the chickens. I was worried for their safety, as lots of people walk their dogs around here,” Damian said.
Damian said it made him sick that “someone had been so cruel to treat these individuals as mere rubbish”.
“I couldn’t just leave them there, so my daughter found NSW Hen Rescue online and I contacted them straight away,” he said.
NSW Hen Rescue usually saves chickens from factory farms, but the vegan volunteer group knew they had to help the dumped chickens.
‘When we heard the hens were looking sick, we had to get over there as soon as possible,” said Ana Lopes, a volunteer with the rescue group.
“They were at risk from predators and they had no food, so we were pleased a local family cared enough to get in touch with us.”
When the hen rescue team arrived, they found Damian and his family at the scene. They had caught nine of the 10 hens.
“It was great teamwork. We were appalled at the condition of the hens. They have scaly leg mites. We had to rush four to the vets, as they were feeling really sick,” Ana said.
NSW Hen Rescue founder Catherine Kelaher said they refer to each hen as “she, rather than it” to show they’re not “disposable objects”.
“They’re individuals, just like dogs and cats,” Catherine said.
NSW Hen Rescue receives a lot of calls about dumped chickens.
“People breed them or take part in school-hatching projects and don’t budget for their future vet bills or consider their daily care,” Ana said.
“Chickens are not rubbish. They are all individuals with likes, dislikes and different personalities. For example, one of the rescued hens, Deirdre, is quite confident and likes to observe what everyone is up to like a nosy neighbour. They deserve care and respect. They deserve not to be exploited.”
These chickens might have had a tough time, but it seems fairly certain they won't end up on a dinner plate any time soon.
“When a chicken comes into our care, we want to make sure they are safe for life. After everything they’ve been through, it’s important to us to keep this family together,” Ana said.
NSW Hen Rescue is run from rented gardens that its organisers call “vegan micro-sanctuaries”.
Their motto is: “Saving one animal may not change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal”.
Topics should disclose that we do sometimes eat chicken.
Sticking with the vegan theme, we came across a PETA Australia email to the Newcastle Herald.
“Last year, the dairy industry attempted to ban the use of the word milk for plant-based drinks like soy and almond milk,” special projects co-ordinator Desmond Bellamy said.
“We pointed out that, if accuracy is their goal, their bottles should be labelled ‘a mammary secretion of animals for the nourishment of their young’.”
Nice one Desmond, although it’s not quite as catchy as milk.
Desmond went on to say that the Cattle Council of Australia now wants to ban the word meat from “vegan products that look like animal flesh but are clean, cruelty-free and better for our health”.
Topics hears that France has actually banned use of the words meat and dairy on vegan and vegetarian food labels.
Cattle Council of Australia chief executive Margo Andrae told the ABC that her organisation did not want to see a repeat of the dairy industry's battle over the words milk and dairy.
However, she would like to see meat legally defined as “coming from the flesh of a slaughtered animal”.
Desmond couldn’t let that comment go.
“We do hope they’ll print that on every package – they’ll win our campaign for us in the first week,” he said.
So are we headed for a world of mass-produced “clean meat” grown from stem cells in a laboratory?
Desmond says yes, while adding that “forward-thinkers like Bill Gates” have invested millions into “clean meat”.
Topics read that Richard Branson had joined Gates and others in the investment, which involved a $17 million “Series A funding round” for Memphis Meats.
This San Francisco-based “clean-meat company” had already produced beef, chicken and duck directly from stem cells, without the need to breed or slaughter animals.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.