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Around 3 000 broiler chickens that formed part of a government upliftment project near Piet Retief in Mpumalanga had to be euthanased by the SPCA after they were left to starve to death, according to a report on Monday.
Nazareth Appalsamy, the SPCA's farm unit inspector, said the desperate chickens had started cannibalising each other, and it was the “worst example of cannibalism and cruelty” he had seen in his career.
Appalsamy and three colleagues worked from Wednesday last week until Saturday to put the creatures out of their misery, Beeld newspaper reported.
The police had to be called in, because the project beneficiaries became violent when the SPCA started putting down the animals.
Lungisiswe Mkwanazi, ANC councillor of the Mkhondo local authority, said on Sunday that the Siyaphambili upliftment project had been initiated by the Mpumalanga department of agriculture.
Nhlanha Mavuso, the chairman of the Siyaphambili project, said on Sunday that the project had been initiated for himself and eight other people.
Initially, Mavuso said, the government supplied the chickens and the food, and government and beneficiaries entered into an agreement with a local hospital to purchase the poultry.
The hospital bought chickens once, but did not place another order.
The owners of the chickens ran out of money, and they could not buy chicken feed, Mavuso said. – Sapa