Chook protest targets Christmas fare
THE Christmas chicken was given a basting today when more than 50 animal liberationists protested outside a southside chicken abattoir.
Placards and banners saying "friend not food" were waved to passers on Mt Cotton Rd this morning before police were called to Gold Cockerel's Mt Cotton plant.
More than 20 protesters crowded in the slaughter hall where thousands of chickens are killed for meat each week but no arrests were made.
Animal Liberation Qld spokesperson Chay Neal said Golden Cockerel used a gas to stun the chickens before their heads "are ripped off".
He said he wanted people to think about what they ate over Christmas.
"Before they sit down and eat chicken or turkey, maybe people at Christmas should think about the animals first," he said.
"There are 664 million chickens killed every year in Australia and we went to Mt Cotton so their stories get told.
"Within 10 kilometres of this slaughterhouse, there are well over 100 massive sheds, each housing tens of thousands of individuals.
"Chickens can communicate with more than 20 different vocalisations and learn from past experiences. They are amazingly sensitive, affectionate individuals with unique personalities."
It is still unknown how the protest will affect chicken stocks or demand at the Christmas table.
However, Australian Chicken Meat Federation executive director Dr Vivien Kite said she did not believe this morning's protest would affect chicken sales.
"And there is no evidence that this company wasn't complying with appropriate practice," she said.
Mr Chay said in Queensland 1.5 million chickens were slaughtered every week and most were chickens between six and eight weeks old.
He said it was believed they suffered greatly as a result of selective breeding, which makes them grow at three times the natural rate.
Development manager for Golden Cockerel's holding company, Darwala, David Bray was contacted but unavailable for comment.
However, in the past, Mr Bray has said the methods used at the site were some of the most humane.
RSPCA said it was not commenting on the protest but has done investigations into the site in the past.