CAGED FOR ONE MONTH FOR HENS
Over twenty SAFE volunteers and staff were on hand to celebrate Carl's remarkable month-long protest, as he stepped out of his self-imposed imprisonment on the side of State Highway 1 north of Dunedin.
TV One and Channel 9, the local television network, along with the Otago Daily Times, were there to capture his release. Carl's mother was the first to give him a big hug as he stepped out, followed by SAFE campaign officer Sacha Dowell.
Campaign director, Eliot Pryor, says that Carl was surprisingly well and in good spirits for someone who had been in confined conditions for such a long time.
"I saw him have a dizzy spell but it passed in a moment. He was full of energy and eager to talk to all his supporters," says Eliot. "What impressed me on meeting Carl is that he comes across as a very genuine person. He's an ordinary man with a calm manner, who has educated himself on the facts and saw the need to do something about it. The fact that he survived the entire month and successfully brought the message to so many people is amazing!"
"He put himself in an extraordinary position because of his values and motivation to make a difference to the terrible situation of extreme confinement of hens for the sake of higher egg consumption."
While SAFE had no idea beforehand of what he had planned, as soon as it had started there was no question of supporting him all the way. In many small ways there were things SAFE could contribute to, from help with maintaining the Facebook page to helping with security issues.
That evening at a social event to say thank you, Carl made special mention of SAFE's support and the difference it had made to his time in the cage. Mr Pryor also took the chance to thank Carl for the added momentum it had given to the NoCages campaign, with gathering submissions and attracting much needed public attention. "SAFE is looking forward to Carl's next unique action, though we have asked Carl to give us more warning next time!" said Mr Pryor.
CARL SCOTT CRACKS MONTH INSIDE HEN CAGE
29 April 2011 - Thirty-one days ago, Carl Scott was unknown to everyone except his family and friends within his humble hometown of Waitati. Now he has thousands of fans all across New Zealand and even around the world.
The former territorial soldier and slaughterhouse worker's solitary protest against battery hen cages has seen him become an inspiring ambassador for New Zealand's three million battery hens.
Carl's caged protest concluded at 12.50pm on Friday 29th of April in Waikouaiti, the home of Mainland Poultry the largest battery egg producer in New Zealand. After 31 days in a cramped and barren space Carl says he is looking forward to a hot bath and a soft bed and the opportunity of being free. He adds that this gruelling experience has made him fully appreciate just how harrowing and cruel cage systems are for animals.
"It is time for the New Zealand to take a serious stand for the welfare of hens and ban all cage systems," says Carl.
Colony cages are no alternative
Carl's protest coincided with the review of the Layer Hen Code of Welfare that has resulted in over 30,000 postcard or e-card submissions against battery hen cages being sent to the Prime Minster.
SAFE director Hans Kriek visited Carl and Mainland Poultry recently and has seen firsthand the cruel current cage systems and the proposed new colony cages.
"Colony cages have been condemned by many of the world's most-respected animal welfare agencies. They still cram hens into wire cages. Each bird still has around an A4 sheet of paper of living space. There is no way that caged hens can express their normal behaviour as required by animal welfare legislation," says Mr Kriek.
In just 31 days, Carl Scott's Person in a Cage - For the Hens in Cages Facebook page has received over 750,000 views and his 4,000-plus fans continue to follow his daily progress of life in a cage
Fans continue to praise Carl as a "hero", "champion" and a "king among men." One avid fan, Lori Pipe Franklin, writes "Carl I never knew about you until today. I wish I knew a month ago! What you are doing is absolutely wonderful - it truly takes a real man to stand up for animals in such a selfless way."
Carl has received over 7,400 encouraging posts from fans since starting his caged protest on 29 March.
On his second day Carl got an interview with Close Up presenter Mark Sainsbury which helped add needed momentum to the No Cages campaign. Carl represents an ordinary guy who was horrified by what he had learned of the factory farming of hens, wondered what he could do about it, and then actually went ahead and did it. He is a concerned citizen who became an activist by following through with his convictions.
While the effects of severe confinement have taken their toll on Carl, both physically and mentally, he remains philosophical. "Empathy and courage are like muscles. The more we exercise them, the stronger they grow," he told his fans.
ONE MAN, ONE MONTH, ONE CAGE
30 March 2011 - What is it like to live in a cage for a month? Waikouaiti resident and SAFE supporter, Carl Scott, is about to find out!
SAFE director, Eliot Pryor, says Carl is passionate about banning battery hen cages and has taken his stance to an entirely new level of individual activism. On Tuesday 29 March Carl entered a small caged positioned on the side of the road in Waikouaiti, north of Dunedin. The brave sole protest, believed to be New Zealand's longest-ever vigil for animals, is positioned near Mainland Poultry, the country's largest battery hen producer.
"Carl has vowed to remain inside a cage for an entire month. While many New Zealanders are doing their bit for the hens by sending in an ecard or postcard submission, Carl has gone a whole lot further," says Eliot.
Carl says he is not protesting against Mainland Poultry per se, but he is motivated to take personal action since he lives nearby and is reminded on the horrific abuse caged hens suffer. "Battery farming is nothing short of horrific," says Carl.
After researching SAFE's NoCages campaign Carl says he wanted to highlight the cruel and barren conditions that 3 million battery hens endure. He says he is committed to staying inside a human-sized cage until the closing of public submissions on 29 April. He will not leave the cage, even for toilet breaks.
His main aim is to publicise that the government is calling for public submissions. The welfare code will determine how layer hens are reared for years to come, but Carl says he is "having doubts as to whether the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), is genuinely advocating for animal welfare. After reading the draft code he says "they seem more concerned with economic considerations than genuinely advocating for animal welfare. Otherwise, surely they would have banned cages years ago."
The draft code acknowledges the problems with battery cages and suggests phasing them out over two long decades, however NAWAC intends to allow so-called colony cage system, basically a cage with slightly more space and minimal additions.
"If we don't speak up for them now, no-one else is going to - possibly for many years to come," says Carl.
"SAFE applauds Carl's determination and we support him wholeheartedly in his aims. We wish him all the best in the long month ahead. This kind of support from concerned individuals is what the success of the campaign will rely on," says Eliot.
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Channel 9 (WATCH) Protester steps out of his self-imposed prison
TV One Cooped up protester to be freed from cage
Radio NZ Poultry code unacceptable, says campaigner
SAFE MEDIA RELEASE Activist cracks month inside hen cage
Times Online Action to ban hen cages
Channel 9 TV Living conditions of battery hens gets some support from a like-minded advocate
SAFE MEDIA RELEASE Proposed colony cages a cruel joke
ODT Caged-hen pilot scheme gets thumbs down
ODT Conditions on visit upset supporters of caged-hen welfare
Radio Live Caged man interviewed by Marcus Lush
ODT Cage man only egged on by mischief-makers
Close Up Cooped up to make a point
TV3 Living like a battery hen
ODT Protest highlights 'living hell' of hens
NZ Herald Cage protest against battery farms