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PART 1 – BACKGROUND

October 28, 2014

A lot of people have been asking me about the situation with Craddock Battery Farm. It’s easiest to share the history by reposting a story from the beginning of this year, below: Please read, and then sign our petition to convince the shareholders it’s a BAD idea to build a new 310,000 hen cruel caged farm!! Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/walter-yovich-don-t-build-new-zealand-s-largest-egg-factory-farm
HORRIBLE HEN RESCUE
Usually rescuing hens makes me happy. But the last several rescues from a particular battery farm have seen more and more serious injuries to the hens. We were perplexed and concerned about what was causing this, but since we’re not allowed in the barns we couldn’t be sure what was happening. We had a rescue on Thursday of 102 hens: More than 10% had broken wings or legs. One had bruising so badly around her lungs that she was in respiratory distress. Many more were bruised and limping. Many cannot stand. (see photo) Now we know why. Someone on the inside was deliberately injuring the hens. They were thrown with force against the truck wall, smashing their bones. We’re beside ourselves. This is sadistic behaviour, abusing their power and control over the animals lives. I spent all day on Friday going back and forth to the vet with groups of hens. One had to be euthanised. The others are all back here on intensive care and being administered with pain meds once a day while they hopefully heal. There was a second rescue of 60 hens yesterday, with the same result. 5 more hens with broken wings are on their way up to me, and others with broken legs are in foster care. We’re swamped by the individual attention these hens need. We’re debating whether we should stop rescuing from this farm, as this many injuries is horrible for the hens as well stressful, heart-breaking, time consuming and expensive for us. And yet, we’ve saved 162 hens who would otherwise have perished. It’s a terrible decision. (Sadly, reporting the farm won’t change anything as we didn’t witness it ourselves and the person who did will not testify.) Workers in these concentration camps have total power over the animals lives, and abuse is common. It won’t stop until these farms are no longer allowed… (see part 2 & 3 below)

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Part 2 – WHY NOT REPORT IT??

When I first told this story, I was under huge pressure to name the farm and report it. In 12 years of rescuing, I’d never once named a farm or even given information that could let people figure out where/who the farms were… but I’d also never seen abuse like this. Of course, I wanted it to stop! I knew they’d never allow me to rescue again, and as much as that broke my heart, I was willing to do whatever it took to stop the deliberate abuse of these innocent animals. So I spoke to the experts: SPCA, legal advice, SAFE, experienced animal welfare workers, people in the industry who’d reported cases to the MPI. Sadly, they all said the exact same thing: without an eye witness willing to testify to what they saw, there was virtually nothing they could do. The law is the law, and even with all the injured hens and vet reports, there was no PROOF of what happened or who did it, They could even claim that WE hurt the hens, or that we rescued from a different farm and blamed them, etc etc. And we knew the witness absolutely positively 100% would not speak out publicly. So, if we exposed the farm, there would be no result, no consequences, and no benefit to the animals. In fact, it would be a negative result, because I wouldn’t be able to rescue any more hens – the farm would close its doors to us. I would devastate the person who so kindly acted as middle man so that we could conduct the rescues; jeapordise the position of the inside person who told us what was happening; and badly affect other rescue workers who were involved. So as much as I hated it, I said nothing… until now. The farm was Craddock Family Farm (although it’s no longer family owned) in Pukekohe. (see part 3).

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Part 3 – WHY NOW?

(Photo is of hen with amputated wing) So after all these months, why name them now? Because the shareholders of Craddock Farm have submitted a proposal to build a new massive factory farm, with cages for 310,000 hens, in Patumahoe (South Auckland). It would be the largest factory egg farm in all of New Zealand. Honestly, I felt my soul crumble when I heard. Honestly, I’m scared to death to be doing this, but I just couldn’t stand quietly by and do nothing. When I studied Hitler’s Nazi Germany in high school, I could never figure out how good, normal people stood by while this happened in their own backyards and villages. I realise now, they were scared. I can’t turn my face away from those innocent animals with no voice. If our voice, our story can motivate people to act, then it won’t have been in vain. The world is moving away from caged eggs. The European Union and many other countries have banned battery cages. Some countries that trialled colony cages have already banned them as well, as they’re no less cruel than battery cages. We need to convince the Craddock shareholders that investing in a massive caged egg farm is the wrong way to go. It’s a backward step. What can you do???
1. Sign the petition to the shareholders: https://www.change.org/p/walter-yovich-don-t-build-new-zealand-s-largest-egg-factory-farm
2. Share this story and petition with your friends and family. Let’s show them that New Zealanders don’t want a mega factory farm with cages.
3. Write to the shareholders, let them know what you think (firmly but with civility): email shares@yovich.co.nz or phone 09-470-0040
4. Join us at the protest in front of the shareholders office this Friday, 12:30 – 1:30, Yovich & Co office, 23 Rathbone Street, Whangarei City Centre For full info see https://www.facebook.com/events/586293521496458/
5. Attend the Council hearing regarding the consent for Craddocks new mega factory farm on Monday 17 November at the Farnklin Art Centre. https://www.facebook.com/events/562691070509770/

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OFF TO THE POUND…

October 27, 2014

I went yesterday to meet this wee girl at the shelter. They believe she’s about 12 years old, has no teeth, was found wandering and has never been claimed. If you lost your dog, isn’t the pound the first place you’d check?! Poor darling. Of course I fell in love with her in a second. I filled out an application to adopt. Keep your fingers crossed that they think we’re a good match! We’d love to adopt another “twilight” dog and give her a safe loving home for the remainder of her life. And although we are NOT a dog or cat sanctuary, if you want to do the same, a dear friend begged me to post this: A smooth coat Jack Russell female, 11 years old, was used to breed constantly and then discarded when she could no longer have litters (bastards!!) She’s incredibly friendly, excellent with children, and is fine with cats, chickens, rabbits, etc. Slowing down now that she’s older, and just wants someone to love. If you can give her a home, please call Julie’s rescue shelter at 09-425-7283. (And no, please don’t contact me about other dogs needing homes, I really don’t do cats & dogs. So sorry!)

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STRANGE PERSPECTIVE

October 24, 2014

I had an interesting experience this week. I was looking at a coat which had a puffy layer, and said to the saleswoman “This isn’t lined with real down, is it?” “No, I’m sorry, it’s synthetic” she replied regretfully, thinking she’d lost the sale. “That’s great!” I said, “because I wouldn’t buy it if it was real down.” She looked surprised, and asked me “Why?” I explained that the cruel down industry often plucks ducks and geese alive in order to get the down (the soft layer of feathers closest to the bird’s skin), which is excruciating for the animal – similar to someone ripping all of the hair out of our head. I told her I’d seen videos, with the geese screaming in agony as this was done. (The videos are horrible, so I won’t post them here, but you can google if you must.) “OH, I wish you hadn’t told me that! I buy down products!” she said. And when I was checking out, she said again “I wish you hadn’t told me. How am I going to get that out of my head now?” I found this fascinating. Not “I wish I hadn’t bought down” or “I’ll never buy down products again”, but “How can I forget so that I can buy down without guilt next time?” All I could say was “Well, maybe now that you know, you’ll make a different decision next time you shop.” And you know what? The coat with synthetic lining is beautiful and warm – we simply don’t need to cause this agony in other living creatures. I really do hope she’ll make the compassionate choice next time, and that is also my hope for other people reading this post. :-)

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LOVING THE WILDLIFE

Michael and I have been relaxing at a Bushland Resort in rural Australia this week. It’s been amazing to glance out the window of our villa and see wild kangaroos grazing right outside, or to go for a walk and have them bound across our path. Yesterday we came home and there was a group of TEN roos right at the end of our drive. As I type right now there’s a beautiful pair of kookaburras sitting outside the window. I love the wildlife here! We’re heading back home today, and I can’t wait to see my babies… but I’ll miss this!

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CELEBRITY VISIT

October 22, 2014

Recently we were thrilled to have Wendyl Nissen (the well known “Green Goddess” and media personality) come to spend a day at The Animal Sanctuary. She’s absolutely lovely, and I enjoyed introducing her to the resident animals. You would have thought I’d paid them extra to be particularly sweet and charming! Wendyl helped to feed an injured kereru, sat on the ground with ducks snuggling on her lap, had a tui land on her arm for a drink, gave the donkeys a good brush and the pigs a great belly rub, etc etc. But the best bit was when she overcame her nervousness about how large Sparky is, and gave him cuddles. Magic!! Wendyl has been wonderfully supportive of our work, and is helping us to promote our new book “The Animal Sanctuary”. She is writing an article for the NZ Womens Weekly, and will include us in one of her newsletters, which has over 12,000 readers. !!! We very very much appreciate her support and her kindness. BTW, if you want to purchase our gorgeous fundraising book full of fabulous stories and photos, you can use this link to buy direct and provide maximum support to the animal sanctuary: http://www.animalsanctuary.co.nz/products-page/ (NZ only) Cheers!

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REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ

October 15, 2014

Many of you will remember at the beginning of the year when we did a battery hen rescue, and a very very high percentage of the hens had broken legs, broken wings, and hideous bruising. We were told about purposeful abuse of the hens from the battery farm workers. Some hens had to have wings amputated, and others with both legs broken had to heal in slings: The suffering was terrible, and unlike any other farm we’ve rescued from. (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Animal-Sanctuary/74575466763) Well, the same company, Craddock, now wants to build a massive new battery farm in South Auckland… which would hold 310,000 caged hens. If it goes ahead, it will be NZ’s largest intensive egg factory farm. We are petitioning the shareholders to reconsider, as the vast majority of NZers DON”T WANT BATTERY FARMS! I’ve written a letter to the shareholders, and I’m pleading with you to sign my petition and share as widely as you can. There are so many facts which show it’s a bad decision to invest in another battery farm. Please help us gather thousands and thousands of signatures from caring people like yourself, who say NO to caged eggs. Thank you, on behalf of the animals, Shawn Bishop
(Click on this link to sign the petition… https://www.change.org/p/walter-yovich-don-t-build-new-zealand-s-largest-egg-factory-farm