Direct Animal Action has launched a petition calling on Waikato Regional Council to decline a resource consent application from Buchanan Ellis Ltd to build an industrial meat chicken farm in Waerenga, Waikato.
You can help by signing and sharing our petition with your friends, family and networks: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/stop-the-waerenga-industrial-meat-chicken-farm
Why is this important?
Chickens farmed for meat have been selectively bred to grow rapidly over a five-six week period before they are slaughtered. At five-six weeks old, they will reach adult weight but they are still baby chicks. This puts incredible stress on their young bodies which struggle under the rapid growth. Many chicks die before even reaching five-six weeks old. Others will suffer lameness due to severe stress on their hip and leg joints, affecting their ability to walk.
Buchanan Ellis Ltd want to build a free-range industrial meat chicken farm at Waerenga – however free-range isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are no industry standards or regulations for free-range in New Zealand, only that there must be a potential to access the outdoors.
Since most free-range meat chickens are slaughtered at five-six weeks old, the amount of time they have to go outside is only around two-three weeks. In their first few weeks of ‘growing’ they are shut inside industrial buildings with around 40,000 other meat chickens.
In practice, many chickens will never get outside because they have to get past thousands of other chickens to reach ‘pop holes’ to the outdoors. In addition, chickens are hierarchical by nature, meaning dominant chickens will often guard pop holes, denying less dominate chickens outdoor access.
The Buchanan Ellis Ltd proposal would see six industrial farm buildings built at the Waerenga site, each containing 43,000 meat chickens. This would see 258,000 meat chickens suffering on site every six week cycle. Over the course of a year around two million meat chickens would be grown at the proposed Buchanan Ellis Ltd factory farm.
As well as animal welfare concerns, there is significant community opposition to the Buchanan Ellis Ltd proposal. Locals are concerned that odour and dust levels from the proposed industrial meat chicken farm will negatively impact their homes and livelihoods. The application is limited notification, meaning that many of the affected locals and the general public cannot make a submission about the proposed factory farm.
Given the significance of the Buchanan Ellis Ltd proposal on the local community and the animal welfare implications, Direct Animal Action believes the application should be publicly notified and, ultimately, that Waikato Regional Council should decline the application.