Animal advocacy group Direct Animal Action and locals from the Kaipara District and Kāpehu marae are set to protest outside Tegel’s headquarters in Newmarket, Auckland today.
The protest marks the start of a council hearing to decide the fate of Tegel’s proposed mega chicken factory to build 32 poultry sheds on farmland 12 km south of Dargaville, near the Northern Wairoa River and Kāpehu marae.
Each shed would be almost as long as a rugby field and 20 metres wide and the farm would be stocked with 1.3mil chickens at a time.
Kaipara local Karen Exley says, “We’re protesting because even in the face of large-scale opposition from the community, the health board and both the regional and district councils, Tegel have not withdrawn their application only suspended it to give themselves more time to develop arguments for the proposal.”
Locals from Kāpehu marae say the marae would not function with 1.3 million chickens being raised next door.
They say the smell would be intolerable and the risk of air pollution, noise and dust was also a worry.
Spokesperson for Direct Animal Action Deirdre Sims says, “Tegel have stalled their mega factory plans because they’re running scared in the face of so much public opposition and evidence of their abysmal animal welfare practices.
“In addition to Tegel’s poor animal welfare practices, their bullying of the Kaipara locals and Kāpehu marae over the mega-farm is just unacceptable. Tegel haven’t been listening to Kaipara’s concerns but luckily the rest of New Zealand has," she says.
Tegel has argued that the proposed farm would provide jobs for locals and say they have sought to consult with affected parties.