Chicken farmers Gerry and Chris Apostolatos plead guilty to starving a huge number of chickens
Two brothers have pleaded guilty to starving more than one million chickens after some of the animals resulted to cannibalism due to insufficient food.
Veteran chicken farmers Gerry and Chris Apostolatos stopped feeding the chickens across their six farms in Victoria when their business Tip Top Livestock fell on hard times in December 2011, The Age reports.
More than 86,000 chickens starved to death under the care of Gerry Apostolatos at six sites, while his brother Chris was responsible for 804,000 chickens on three farms where more than 63,000 died.
When animal welfare officers were alerted to the chickens, they found some of them had turned to cannibalism to survive and others suffered from malnutrition and lameness.
The brothers, who had been in the chicken farming business for 30 years, pleaded guilty to multiple animal cruelty charges at Melbourne Magistrates Court last Wednesday.
Prosecutor George Georgiou SC said the animal cruelty case was one of the worst to come before the court as he revealed the chickens were starved between December 2011 and February 2012.
The company ran into financial difficulty and had trouble making payments for food, the court heard.
The brothers’ processing plant was shut down by authorities in November 2011 due to hygiene concerns and feed bills grew to $1 million a week because they couldn’t keep up.
The pair will be sentenced at a later date.
source: Neos Kosmos