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Vigil for Chicken Industry Victims

19 August 2013

NEW ZEALAND - A vigil was held in Auckland on Sunday, 18 August, to commemorate the millions of New Zealand chickens that suffer short and brutal lives when raised for meat.

Ninety animal activists, each holding the body of a dead chicken, represented the 90 million birds killed every year in the country. The eye-catching vigil is part of SAFE’s Stop Factory Farming month this August.

Meat chickens have been selectively bred for fast growth and reach slaughter weight at only six weeks of age. This has created a genetic freak that suffers from major health problems such as lameness, leg weakness, heart disease and sudden death syndrome.

"On New Zealand farms nearly 10,000 chickens die of disease every single day," said SAFE Executive Director Hans Kriek. "Many of these chickens are so badly crippled that they cannot reach food or water and may succumb to hunger and thirst."

"Due to the unnatural genetic make-up of the bird, there is currently no commercially produced chicken product on the market that could be described as humane," said Mr Kriek.

Emmett Skilton of TV show Almighty Johnsons also participated in the vigil.

"As much as I do not want to hold a dead animal in my hands, I will take part because these animals need our help. Our abhorrent treatment of chickens sends chills down my spine and nearly has me in tears. It is up to us, the consumers, to speak up for those who cannot and stop factory farming."

The bodies of the chickens were collected from farms in the Auckland region and all died from disease and other health problems. After the vigil the chickens’ bodies will be buried in a ceremony at an animal sanctuary and a memorial garden planted.

SAFE believes that once people become aware that chickens raised for meat suffer just as much as battery hens and pigs in crates many will choose to no longer support this cruelty.

"A consumer boycott is the only effective way to end this suffering," said Mr Kriek.

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