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Statement From Baiada Poultry

Statement by Simon Camilleri, Managing Director of Baiada Poultry in response to PETA chicken footage - 28 November 2019

I am horrified and appalled by the PETA footage which has been provided to The Project. Let me be absolutely clear up front that this is not the type of behaviour that we condone at any of our sites.

I have been shown for the first time today footage that appears to be taken from inside one of our processing plants.  The footage of birds being punched, whacked and roughly handled is totally unacceptable.  I have immediately instructed there be a full investigation of this animal cruelty.  I have no hesitation to bring in the relevant government authorities, in fact I already have spoken to the Police.  We will do our utmost to find those responsible. We have zero tolerance for animal cruelty failures.

I was aware of the footage taken at our Victorian breeder farm in March 2019.  I understand how deeply disturbing that is. It is disturbing to me as well.

The footage shows one of our workers euthanizing a rooster using a technique called "cervical dislocation".  While euthanizing is not something we want to do, it is necessary from time to time and we have been assured by the RSPCA scientists that cervical dislocation is the most humane way to end the life of a bird.

In this case, the procedure was not carried out correctly and did not immediately end the bird's life as it should.  This is disturbing, however, we do not believe that the worker intended to be cruel.  He did not carry out the procedure correctly.  That means our training was not as effective as it should have been and made us review the procedure itself.

At the time the incident was investigated by Agriculture Victoria with our full cooperation. The Department decided that no further action was necessary and closed the investigation in September 2019.

One of the outcomes of this incident was that we changed our procedures and there was re-training of workers on the correct procedure for ending a bird’s life.  We communicated with livestock employees reiterating our deep commitment to treating birds humanely and respectfully.

Baiada has policies and procedures in respect of animal welfare which are subject to internal and external audit and compliance programs.  Baiada has an independent ‘whistleblower’ service where any person in our community may anonymously report any information on animal welfare matters.  Such reports will be investigated.

I would like to assure everyone that I am personally committed to the humane treatment of birds and will continue to drive improvements in procedures and culture as a core value of our business.