Swedish Activists Shut Down Egg Factory
April 27, 2003 Herrljunga, Sweden
In the early hours of Sunday April 27, 2003, Swedish animal rights group "Bye Bye Egg Industry" entered the Gimranas Inc. hatchery, the largest chicken breeder in Sweden, and one of the largest in the world, and destroyed machines responsible for hatching and brooding millions of eggs each year. The Bye Bye Egg Industry activists committed this action openly, with the purpose of preventing thousands of hens being born to a life full of agony. As a direct result of the action, 42,000 eggs just a few days old were cooled down, meaning that over 20,000 hens were never born to a life of suffering. The activists face four years in prison but are likely to receive a lesser sentence.
Activists Daniel Hedqvist, Hanna Ekegren and Johan Jaatinen face prison over their courageous efforts to end animal abuse.
Following is the Bye Bye Egg Industry press release
HATCHERY RENDERED HARMLESS - BROODING MACHINES (SETTERS) DESTROYED
In the early hours of Sunday, April 27, 2003, a hatchery in the South of Sweden was rendered harmless. Brooding machines (setters) and other equipment used for nursing eggs, bred to produce battery hens, were put out of order. This is the most forceful action taken so far to put an end to the ongoing misery of caged battery hens - and other hens as well - in Sweden. The animal rights group "Bye Bye Egg Industry" consisting of, Daniel Hedqvist, Hanna Ekegren and Johan Jaatinen, take full responsibility for the action. This was an act of civil disobedience, done openly, with the purpose of preventing thousands of hens being born to a life full of agony.
The hatchery, Gimranäs Inc, in the outskirts of Herrljunga in the West of Sweden, breed about 90% of chickens that are used in egg production in Sweden. It is estimated to be the 11th biggest hatchery in the world. Daniel Hedqvist and Hanna Ekegren entered one part of the complex in the town Hudene, and at the same time, Johan Jaatinen broke in to another part in the town Fåglavik. In the buildings they started destroying machines and equipment used for hatching and brooding millions of eggs each year.
The activists left a letter to the workers, explaining why they felt obliged to take action and that their action should not be taken personally but as an attack of the egg industry as a whole. To emphasize this, the group left coffee and a vegan cake (dairy and egg free) together with the letter, at both of the factories.
As a direct result of the action, 42,000 eggs just a few days old were cooled down, which means that over 20,000 hens were never born to a life of suffering. Since no alarm was triggered in the smaller factory in Fåglavik, all the machines there were destroyed completely, which resulted in a shutdown for several weeks according to the owner of Gimranäs Inc.
"Our action prevented thousands of hens to be born into a life of misery. A life where they would only be seen as egg-machines to profit from, not the individuals they really are," says Hanna Ekegren, jack-of-all-trades.
"The bred hens of today grow twenty times faster than what would have been natural. Obviously this affects their health in a negative way. They suffer from increased risk of disease, foot and claw damage and bone weakness, just to name a few," Daniel Hedqvist, biology student of Stockholm University pronounces.
Ekegren and Hedqvist were arrested at the hatchery as the burglary alarm went off. Jaatinen was not discovered during the night but was taken to the police station the following morning when he was leafleting about the action in Gothenburg city center. The group spent two days in isolation cells at the police station but was later set free as the prosecutor did not find there were enough reasons to remand them in custody. The loss of machinery and eggs is estimated to be about SEK 2,000,000 (US$ 240,000). A date for the trial will be set in a few months. They risk at most four years in prison, but a more likely sentence is a few months in prison plus liability for the damages.
Click on any photo for larger version
hedqvist, ekegren and jaatinen
some of the damaged machinery
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quote left on the wall of the hatchery: "the animals of the world exist for their own reasons. they were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men" - alice walker