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Chook giant flies the coop after dwindling sales

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Chook giant Red Lea Chickens has gone into voluntary administration after falling victim to supermarket price wars.

The processing plant in New South Wales’ Blacktown will close, leaving 500 people without work.

Ross Greenwood speaks with NSW Farmers’ Association Poultry Committee Chair, Justin Roach.

“Our main concern from industry is the welfare of these chickens that are left in the sheds of Red Lea farmers.”

Mr Roach tells Ross action has already been taken against the company after it failed to honour payments dating back to July 2017.

“There are farmers owed enormous amounts of money.

He says some are owed “over $500,000”.

“We’ve got farmers out there that just don’t know how to put food on the table at the moment.

“When the farmer is squeezed so hard they start looking at how they can still make a dollar… that may come down to the welfare of the bird.”

Listen to the full interview below

Ross also speaks to Frank Grima, a chicken farmer and contractor for Red Lea Chickens since 1990.

“I always looked after my animals and I always did well.”

He tells Ross he would supply 75,000 chickens five times a year to Red Lea.

But he’s out of pocket and is owed close to $120,000.

“I haven’t got paid for the last 140,000 chickens.

“I got a bill for the gas and I don’t know how I’m going to pay it.

“I’m ashamed of the government here to let people come from other countries take over this company… and run it into the ground.”

Listen to the full interview with Frank below