Ten million chicks culled due to load shedding – animal protection society warns

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The animal protection organisation says that while concern for the impact on producers and farmworkers is rightly vocalised, the lethal impact on animals is being overlooked. Photo: Supplied
The animal protection organisation says that while concern for the impact on producers and farmworkers is rightly vocalised, the lethal impact on animals is being overlooked. Photo: Supplied

NEWS


Millions of farmed animals have died due to rolling blackouts that lead to overheating, stress, illness and painful deaths because of a lack of electricity-dependent ventilation, lighting and temperature control.  

This is according to the animal protection organisation, Humane Society International (HSI), which states that 10 million day-old chicks have been culled, and at least 40 000 birds have died due to disruptions caused by persistent load shedding.  

READ: WATCH | Farm dumps almost 12 000 litres of milk in one day due to load shedding

Farm animal specialist for HSI/Africa Candice Blom said: “The well-being of millions of animals is a serious concern, along with the economic loss, food insecurity, and food price increases relating to load shedding.” 

Blom concedes that extreme confinement is a defining feature that millions of creatures across South Africa have to endure in factory farms. 

She said: 

Now, their suffering is made even worse due to the lack of power. This emergency underlines that it is simply not sustainable to continue producing food in this way. Disease outbreaks, events like veld fires and droughts, and now load shedding, all put the animal agriculture industry in a permanent state of crisis with devastating effects on farmed animals.

The animal protection organisation said that while concern for the impact on producers and farmworkers was rightly vocalised, the lethal impact on animals was being overlooked.  

“The animal welfare impacts are most acutely felt in intensive production systems where the animals’ unnatural and automated environment are dependent on a constant supply of electricity,” said HSI in a statement. 

HSI added farmers usually had disaster management in place to avoid unnecessary suffering and mitigate the destruction of animals when power supplies were disrupted. 

READ: SEE | 40 000 chickens killed, farmer to put R1.5m claim to Eskom

“Policymakers should require that farmers create and implement those plans. It is also time for the South African government to rethink and support changes to our food system and for farmers to move away from intensive animal production.”  

HSI added that the public could help by making humane food choices that not only helped improve the welfare of farmed animals but also decreased food insecurity in South Africa by choosing plant-based alternatives to animal proteins. 


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