http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/env...p?story=399831More than 1,000 battery hens have been "liberated" in a raid on a chicken farm, animal rights activists claimed yesterday.
The birds were removed from the farm in two horse boxes and have now been given homes as "companion animals" with sympathisers, the Animal Liberation Front said.
The raid happened during the Easter weekend at Wallops Wood Farm in Droxford, Hampshire, when 16 balaclava-clad activists broke into farm buildings and removed the chickens.
Hampshire police said they were investigating a burglary at the farm, where extensive damage had been caused and some poultry had been released.No one from the farm was available for comment.
Robin Webb, a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, said the raid was "to highlight the cruelty of the battery system, which has been condemned by every government committee of inquiry since the Bramble report of 1965". Mr Webb alleged that hens at the farm had fallen out of their cages and were living in deep piles of chicken droppings. Some had died in their own droppings, he said, adding that the activists had made a video of conditions at the farm which would be passed on to a national animal welfare campaigning group.
Mr Webb said that the raiders had taken away 1,023 hens. He said: "They will be re-homed in places where they will be treated as companion animals and they will live out their natural life span." The activists had damaged the caging system, conveyor belts and feeding apparatus and left slogans painted on the walls, Mr Webb said.
The EU has passed a new law to phase out battery cages, which comes into effect in 2012. So far, the British Government has declined to act unilaterally.