Raw deal for caged chooks

The Collective will sing at the youth concert.
The Collective will sing at the youth concert.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the majority of elected members supported an amended recommendation to approve the licence application by Barry Cocking for his Carabooda Road property.

The original recommendation listed 16 conditions for the licence, including that the number of chickens housed in the eight sheds currently on the property would be limited by the WA Code of Practice for Poultry.

According to the report, Mr Cocking currently has 150,000 chickens on the property, with two sheds used for pullets (young chickens), one for caged layers, one for packing and four for non-caged layers.

It said under the WA Code of Practice, he could have 205,385 non-caged chickens, or 266,000 caged chickens, but it was not possible to calculate the limit where both were kept.

Deputy Mayor Laura Gray moved an amendment, seconded by Cr Norm Hewer, which added a third recommendation.

Her amendment said the City would advise the landowner that the council’s approval to conduct an offensive trade was issued under the Health Act and the City’s Health Local Law.

‘(It) does not constitute an approval or permission to operate a poultry farm or conduct an offensive trade from the property under any other legislation, whether administered by the City of Wanneroo or not,’ it said.

‘It is the landowner’s responsibility to comply with all other applicable laws and statutory requirements relating to use and development of the subject land.’

Cr Gray said she reluctantly supported the motion because there were no grounds to refuse it.

At the May 21 briefing session, the City’s planning and sustainability director Len Kosova said any application for development approval for the building modifications since 2009 would be considered under separate legislation.

Cr Dot Newton, who voted against the amendment and the substantive motion, said she was opposed to caged egg production.

‘I can’t knowingly approve this application ” each hen has about the size of an A4 piece of paper,’ she said.

‘This is a retrospective application and I find it offensive and I don’t support (the recommendation).’

Cr Dianne Guise also spoke about the issue, saying she did not support caged egg production but had to follow the law, and voted in favour to approve the trade licence.

‘If we had our way, we would be up there setting them all free (and if it happens, it wasn’t us by the way),’ she said.

Councillors Newton, Stuart Mackenzie, Brett Treby and Denis Hayden voted against approving the licence.