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Farmer to be Prosecuted after Abandoning Hens

28 February 2012, at 1:01am

US - About a third of the estimated 50,000 hens at A&L Poultry, California, died after about two weeks without feed, whilst the rest are being euthanized because of their weak condition.

The Modesto Bee reported that it is likely that farm owner, Andy Keung Cheung, will be prosecuted on charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

A veterinarian cleared about 2,000 hens to be taken to rescue centers that work with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, executive director Annette Patton said.

A&L Poultry, the owner of the abandoned egg farm, issued this statement:

A&L Poultry has been in the process of arranging the shut down of its egg production operations utilising the industry’s business practices and standards.

An attempt to arrange for delivery of the chickens to a third party in order to avoid the usual business practice of euthanizing the chickens resulted in an unacceptable situation A&L Poultry did not intend, and profoundly regrets.

"The responsible party or parties subjected each bird to unnecessary and unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, and death," wrote Bruce Friedrich, Farm Sanctuary senior director for strategic initiatives.

"It has been our experience over our 25 years of providing sanctuary for chickens who have been rescued from factory farms and slaughterhouses that they are deeply intelligent and inquisitive animals."

The cleanup has involved county and state agencies and egg industry leaders, who are eager to point out that hen abuse is rare. A&L produced about 386 million eggs in Stanislaus County in 2010.