SAFE is calling on two councils to think about the wellbeing of millions of birds, as well as the negative impacts on local people through increased traffic and pollution, when they hear a consent application for a huge chicken farm in Waikato.
Matamata Poultry Limited wants to build a six-shed farm near Waharoa, which would hold 242,000 birds at a time, sending 1,840,000 chicks to slaughter each year to be sold under the Ingham’s brand.
The corporation will appear before the Matamata-Piako District Council and Waikato Regional Council on Wednesday 24 October in its request for consent.
SAFE’s Head of Campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says despite being a so-called ‘free-range’ proposal, the farm would cause millions of animals to suffer.
“Under this proposal, birds would be kept inside for three weeks, and then would have limited access to ‘peepholes’ to get outside, for only between 10 and 17 days. I don’t think anyone thinks of ‘free-range’ as being inside for two-thirds of your life - it’s so misleading.”
“These birds would also be the standard type bred for meat in New Zealand, which are selectively bred to double in size each week. They are literally bred to have a life of suffering, before being killed when they’re barely a month old.”
“We’re asking the councils to think about the animals involved here, as well as the impacts on the environment and local people, and not put profit ahead of suffering. We already have 120 million birds bred for meat each year in New Zealand. The recent opposition and rejection of a huge farm in Dargaville goes to show the opposition to this industry from all corners.”
“SAFE has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over the misleading way Tegel free-range chicken is advertised. These chickens are bred to suffer and this farm will be no different.”