Eskom power cuts impact on factory farmed animals

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Recently a story broke out about a North West poultry farmer, Herman du Preez who reported the death of approximately 50 000 broiler chickens, who died of suffocation due to the effects of load shedding (lack of electricity-dependent ventilation, lighting & temperature control). The Frangipani Boerdery farmer, du Preez says that the death of the chickens is due to lack of consistent electricity.Load shedding continues to affect businesses all over the country, and the effects are being felt rapidly by the agricultural and/or industrial farming sector, resulting in the harm and deaths of farmed animals.

Power cuts keep exacerbating the pressure for industrial farmers in broiler chicken and egg production facilities.The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) warned earlier this year that 10% of small egg farmers had gone out of business while chicken shortages had forced a number of fast-food outlets to shut down or cut items from their menu.

Indications are there that this is not only bad for broiler hens but also for egg laying hens, which we as SAFCEI have been campaigning for in our cage-free eggs campaign. This unfortunate event is proof that there is a need for a shift in the way in which poultry farming is practiced in the country. We believe it is SAPA’s duty to make legislation that protects the farmers and the hens, therefore caring for the consumer. It is apparent that these soaring costs can cause a dent to our efforts to ensure that hens are freed from the cages and that cage-free eggs are the order of the day. Something simply has to change.

As Earthkeepers, we can continue to support the call for cage-free and try to opt for more sustainable food choices, which will improve the welfare of animals in battery caged or broiler facilities.

By Zwelisha Shobede.