TWO major chain stores have broken ties with a former agricultural MEC's chicken farm because he does not treat his animals ethically. Beeld newspaper reported yesterday.
Woolworths and Pick n Pay said on Wednesday they would no longer sell any eggs from hens bred by Jan Serfontein and his son Jan on one of the country's three biggest chicken farms - Boskop Layer Chickens.
Pick n Pay spokesperson Tamra Veley said the chain store was now demanding written undertakings from egg suppliers that the hens had been treated "ethically".
Woolworths food director Julian Novak said it was important that animals be treated "humanely throughout the production process".
He said Woolworths' egg suppliers had undertaken not to use hens bred by Boskop Layer Chickens.
Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday that up to 70000 male birds were dumped in an empty farm dam every week and left to die, because they were "economically worthless". A former Boskop Layer Chicks employee, Kobus van Zyl, said this had been going on for the past 70 years - for as long as the North West chicken farm existed.
If 70000 chicks were indeed killed every week for the past 70 years, that calculates into more than 254million chicks.
Van Zyl said sometimes it would take up to five days for the chicks to die, mainly of starvation or suffocation.
The male chicks were useless to the farmers because they could not lay eggs.
Serfontein senior is the former MEC for agriculture, conservation and environment in North West. -- Sapa