A BENDIGO poultry service has rejected an animal rights activist's claim mistreatment of hens is widespread in the egg industry.
Provac Poultry Services owner and managing director Nigel Box's comments come after an Animal Liberation NSW spokesperson expressed concerns the conduct of contractors covertly filmed at Bridgewater Poultry "very much represents the standard".
"You can see by the way workers very overtly treat these animals in front of their peers that they feel there is nothing to hide or any punishment to come from it," the spokesperson said.
AGRI Recruitment and Training has dismissed four staffers alleged to have been responsible for the conduct.
Agriculture Victoria is investigating the matter.
Mr Box said the conduct captured in the footage was unacceptable, and the industry needed to take a stand.
"It's an outrageous situation," he said.
"This isn't across the board.
"We don't condone that behaviour in any shape or form."
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Provac Poultry Services re-issued a revised Animal Welfare Code shortly after the footage was released, to reinforce expectations of its more than 60 Bendigo-based staffers.
Mr Box also found himself reassuring customers and inquiring members of the public the behaviour shown in the video was in no way linked to his business.
"We just need to stress the fact we take very seriously the welfare of the stock we handle," he said.
"We don't tolerate animal cruelty."
Mr Box said the footage was a timely reminder for all those in the industry of the ease with which mistreatment of animals could be captured.
"It's a timely reminder for all of us we need to maintain these rigid standards," he said.
"It's always a disappointment when something like this comes up."
AGRI Recruitment and Training operations manager Rebecca Gillard this week told the Bendigo Advertiser the organisation took what it thought was appropriate action as soon as it became aware of what had occurred.
"Whilst the incident was totally against our company policy, training and community expectations, we do take full responsibility for what has happened," Ms Gillard said.
She, too, said the treatment of birds depicted in the footage was unacceptable.
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