Justice for hens: Manchester pair launch chicken petition after M62 lorry crash kills 1,000 birds

Two Manchester animal-loving activists have set up a national appeal in the wake of an M62 lorry crash which killed more than 1,000 chickens.

Louise Fields and Emma Billington set up the Justice for Hens petition which has gained 1,800 signatures in order to ensure accidents like this will be avoided in the future.

The pair are hoping to get more than 2,500 signatures which will enable them to send the appeal directly to Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP.

RESCUED: Louise Fields with a chicken who escaped alive

Louise Fields told MM: “We live right next to the M62 motorway and it happened only metres from our house. We woke at around 4am with a huge bang and we could hear a noise that sounded like people screaming.

“We went running over and all the birds were screaming, it was deafening. Cages were up the embankment and scattered across the motorway, birds were loose and walking all over the carriageway.

“Many were already dead but there were dying birds all over the place with horrific injuries that will haunt us forever.”

In excess of 1,000 chickens were killed on May 14 when the lorry transporting them crashed into a safety barrier.

OUTRAGE: The scene of the accident caused fury among animal-lovers (©Iain C Patterson with thanks)

And Louise told of the crushing feeling of transporting the chickens from the hard shoulder to a roadside field.

“Two-by-two we just started carrying the birds off the motorway and up the embankment to our field for safety,” said Louise

“Turning around to realize the extent of the numbers we were facing caused an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.”

SURVIVOR: A chicken is found on the motorway embankment having survived the crash

The global animal charity PETA have slammed the transport conditions of the hens which were killed in a lorry crash near Eccles interchange.

PETA responded in a statement condemning the handling of the birds and signalled their intention to rally for a sign to be erected at the accident site.

“The extraordinary trauma and cruelty of transport for chickens and other animals is another reason why so many people are going vegetarian or vegan,” said PETA, who raise funds to fight animal cruelty.

“Chickens are routinely crammed by the thousands into the back of lorries and taken on terrifying journeys to slaughter in all weather conditions.

“If they make it to their final destination, they are roughly grabbed, are shackled upside down and go struggling along a conveyor belt to the blade.”

View the petition here.

Other images courtesy of Facebook

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