Chickens rescued, bakkie impounded on the way to market

2012-04-03 00:00

A BAKKIE was impounded yesterday for overloading and incorrectly loading chickens.

It was travelling from Balgowan to a market in Durban when it stopped at a garage in Hayfields.

At approximately 10 am, the SPCA in Pietermaritzburg received a call from a concerned member of public, reporting that the crates, piled high on the back of the bakkie, appeared to be about to fall off and also, that the driver was stuffing some of the chickens that had escaped, back into the crates.

SPCA staff arrived to find police checking the vehicle, which had no licence disc or number plates.

Police escorted the bakkie to the SPCA where 571 chickens were off­loaded from 46 crates.

The incident contravened the Animal Protection Act and the Poultry Association recommendations as crates were overcrowded and incorrectly loaded, and were piled too high (above the height of the canopy of the bakkie).

Maureen Vida, SPCA spokesperson, explained that other than the crates falling off when they are piled too high, the chill factor caused by exposure to wind could also kill the animals.

The Road Traffic Inspectorate impounded the vehicle and both the owner of the chickens and the driver of the vehicle will be issued with a written warning.

They face prosecution should either of them contravene the Animal Protection Act again.

“We often see cases of people overloading or incorrectly loading livestock and chickens and we have a little area where we keep them,” said Vida.

“The chickens are battery farm chickens and they are not used to the open space. They don’t know how to scratch or peck and their beaks are clipped so that they don’t peck each other.”

Upon arrival at the SPCA, the chickens began laying eggs. Staff collected a large container full of eggs. The chickens will remain at the SPCA until suitable transport is arranged. — Witness Reporter.

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