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Animal activists target Australia poultry congress

At the recent WPC2008, the head of Australia's 9mln-bird-per-week chicken meat industry defended the poultry industry's welfare standards.

It is reported that about 10 Animal Liberation protesters recently staged a small but "foul-smelling" protest outside the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the 23rd World Poultry Congress is currently underway.
Australian Chicken Meat Federation executive director, Andreas Dubs, said that while today's broilers are bred to grow twice as fast as their backyard equivalents, it was not in the industry's interest to mistreat the birds. "We are doing everything we can to keep the birds healthy and to keep them happy," he stated.
The protesters reportedly pretended to feast on 4 newly deceased chickens they stole the previous night from a farm on the city's outskirts.
According to Animal Liberation spokesperson Angie Stephenson, the group was "shocked" when they discovered the conditions in 10 chicken farms that they inspected in the area, each of which farm about 150,000 chickens in 7 or 8 sheds.
She stated that chickens were not able to stand up because they have such under-built skeletal systems that cannot carry their own weight. However, Dubs defended the industry saying that there are bound to be sick birds, or bird with broken legs within the 9 mln birds produced per week.
Additionally, he said that farmers check the birds twice a day, and if the birds are unfit, they are either treated or culled.
Dubs also defended the industry's use of antibiotics in meat chickens, which he said did not cause accelerated growth. "The real reason is selective breeding," he said, adding that this is a process that had been going on for 30 or 40 years in a very focused way. The end result, he said, is that now (commercially farmed) chickens grow...about twice as quickly.
Stephenson said Animal Liberation had taken seven rescued chickens to a veterinarian and would present their medical reports to the RSPCA.
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