Letter: Creature comforts
Friday 05 February 1999
On my father's poultry farm in the 1920s our hens had runs which were always green places for them to have dust baths. There were hen cabins, litter on the floor, perches with dropping boards below - cleaned out daily. They had nest boxes lined with straw.
We killed our birds by hand - father called it "wringing their necks" and it was instantaneous. The birds were hung for a short time and then plucked by hand. The birds were dressed by hand and, having been hung, it was not a "bloody" job.
My father refused to convert to the battery system, which could have resulted in him becoming a wealthy man.
The argument that cages provide sanctuary is ridiculous. A weaker bird could be attacked by others but it was noticed and dealt with. I never saw a bird minus feathers or suffering from arthritis.
The old system would provide more jobs, of course, making eggs more expensive but maybe it would be a good thing if they became a luxury.
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