Caged Poultry Farmer’s Imprisonment Justifies Animal Liberators Efforts

The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is to be congratulated for successfully prosecuting a poultry farmer for animal welfare offences, but should be exposing other cruel poultry farmers, according to the Soil & Health Association of NZ.
Gerard Bogaart, trading as Golden Harvest Poultry, was yesterday sentenced by Judge McAuslan to 12 months in prison under the Animal Welfare Act for the wilful ill-treatment of broiler hens and roosters in his care and for two months concurrently for failing to provide for their physical, health and behavioural needs. (1)
“Considering Golden Harvest proudly quotes 46 years in the industry, audits of all large scale broiler hen and egg operations should be undertaken immediately,” said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning. (2)
“Animal rights activists such as Animal Liberation Front, Auckland Animal Action and SAFE, have been doing fantastic public service in raising the attention of agencies and the public to the cruel practices followed by cage poultry farmers.”
“It appears that NZFSA only showed interest after the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in 2007 publicised continued animal welfare issues by poultry farmer Gerard Bogaart, who had also been convicted in 1996 for cruelty to sheep in his care. Similar action by ALF in 2004 at Bogaart’s poultry operation had not inspired NZFSA it seems.”(3)
The NZFSA attention against Golden Harvest initially was to get compliance with food safety risk management plans. Animal welfare considerations only followed when enforcement against illegal egg and poultry sales was undertaken.”
“While NZFSA staff became deeply concerned with animal welfare considerations, they should not have waited for more than a year ahead of enforcement, while poultry continued to be treated in a cruel and disgusting way.”
“1100 birds had to be euthanased to relieve their suffering when action against illegal sales was finally taken. Action against all cruel poultry farmers needs to be taken immediately, whether illegally trading or not.”
NZFSA’s media release 25 May included;
“In early 2007 NZFSA served a notice of direction on the company to cease the sale of poultry and eggs as well as slaughter of poultry, which Mr Van Den Bogaart continued to disregard.
Prior to the operation, NZFSA had tried in vain to help Mr Van Den Bogaart make his operation compliant by developing a Risk Management Programme (RMP), which is a legal requirement for all poultry slaughterhouses and all egg producers with more than 100 female birds.
In June 2008 New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) investigators and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) investigators – assisted by police, local council officers and a veterinarian – executed NZFSA search warrants on two rural properties in South Auckland that Van Den Bogaart was operating from. This was done under provisions of the Animal Products Act on the basis of the suspected illegal slaughter and sale of poultry and eggs to a number of Auckland retailers.”
“Compliance with food safety was never going to attend to all animal welfare concerns and NZFSA’s Risk Management Programme for poultry makes little difference to human health in NZ. However the removal of all caged and crate farming operations would improve animal welfare conditions for millions of chickens, ducks and pigs,” said Mr Browning.
“Clearly Bogaart and his Golden Harvest operation was a bad example among poultry farmers, but all caged poultry farmers need immediate inspection.”
“Bogaart has been removed from his cruel business, but the leaders of the cruel caged poultry industry best not feel complacent. Thinking consumers and animal welfare proponents such as Soil & Health will not rest until the hens are out of the cages.”
Soil & Health supports humane free range and organic poultry farming which fits with its vision of an Organic 2020.

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