An investigation by the animalistic NGO Equalia shows the situation of mistreatment of laying hens in cages in a facility in Castilla-La Mancha. In the complaint filed this week before a court in Guadalajara, and to which elDiario.es has had access, the organization accuses a poultry farm in the town of Yebra, in Guadalajara, of “crimes of animal abuse aggravated by death.”
The complaint is accompanied by “images from 2020 until just three weeks ago”, and reveals the “cruelty” of the cage system, according to the NGO in a press release. In these images and in a video you can see chickens plucked by wear caused by overcrowding in the cages, or corpses living with live chickens, among other findings.
Apart from these images, “common in the cage system”, the report also explicitly captures plagues of rats walking among the birds, and of mites growing in the eggs destined for human consumption.
The European Commission has committed to eliminating cages in animal husbandry across the EU by 2027
“The European Commission is committed to eliminating cages in animal husbandry across the EU by 2027. The food industry has the opportunity to get ahead and develop business policies that incorporate animal welfare as an integral element of food sustainability,” says Julia Elizalde, from Equalia.
“It’s quite a montage”
For his part, Claudio Padrino, head of the reported poultry farm, assures in a telephone conversation with elDiario.es that it is all a “set-up”. “There is a European regulation on animal welfare of 2012 that we strictly follow, how could it be otherwise, and we even put more of our harvest. I have been a farmer for more than 40 years and I owe my life to the chickens, I love them “says Padrino.
The aforementioned assures that after learning the information from the press, he went to the Seprona in the neighboring town of Almonacid de Zorita and together with two Civil Guard agents “they toured the entire production center.”
The person in charge of the poultry farm also affirms that he does not know the information in detail but that he reserves the right to take legal action “according to how things develop”. He accuses the activists of entering his facilities “at night and at the wrong time” and relates some images that he has seen with a fire suffered in his farm on the night of August 19-20. “I’m going to think that the fire was caused,” he says.
In addition, he claims to have received comments from acquaintances informing him that the animal organization receives grants “from the Bill Gates Foundation” and that therefore they carry out this type of activity.
The legal department of Equalia considers that the content of the images includes actions allegedly constituting serious crimes of animal abuse and against public health and accompanies its complaint of veterinary report where “the unfortunate state of the animals” is manifested, as indicated in their release.
Last July this organization launched the campaign BetterSinJaulas.org. It is an online comparative tool that encourages companies in the food sector to advance their animal welfare policies, focusing on a staple food such as eggs, in line with the sustainability frameworks of the European Union.