Mullumbimby High School students and agriculture farm assistant nurse one of the chickens that survived the attack.
Mullumbimby High School students and agriculture farm assistant nurse one of the chickens that survived the attack. The Northern Star

Students distressed by henhouse slaughter

THE callous beheading of five chickens at Mullumbimby High School has left agriculture farm assistant Rick Cerato wondering what could ever possess a person to be so cruel.

The culprits broke into the chook pen sometime on Saturday, then pulled the heads off two of the hens, cut the heads and wings off another three and shoved a sixth hen, which survived the traumatic ordeal, through a classroom window.

Counselling has been offered to the students and the school is looking at upgrading security measures at the agriculture plot as a result of the incidents.

Mr Cerato, the main carer for the chickens, said the incident was 'horrifying and disgusting'.

"I'm in a bit of disbelief," he said.

"To see this senseless killing just really drives me nuts.

"I look after the chooks and I'm an animal lover and it's just awful."

On hearing the news of the attacks, The Northern Star and Mullumbimby-based Belmont Produce organised to donate some chickens to the school so the students would not miss out.

Five baby chicks will be delivered to the school today.

And if that wasn't enough of a reflection of the Northern Rivers' community spirit, Byron Stunning Stays yesterday donated 11 laying hens to the school's agriculture department.

Business owner Suzi Dowling said her hens had needed a home, and she was more than happy to be able to help the school out in the process.

Some school students found the chicken carcasses at the plot on Monday morning, while Mr Cerato was giving others a tractor lesson.

School principal Ian Graham said while the students were obviously saddened by the incident, the donations from the community had lifted their spirits.

"At this stage none of the students appear distressed, but counselling services are available to them if needed," he said.

"What happened is just sick.

"There are two aspects to it. The trespassing and vandalism side of the incident is disappointing, but I'm very concerned about the cruel nature of it and I just hope the police are able to find who did it, so we can help them."

Inspector Owen King, of the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command, said the offenders if caught would be dealt with under the Cruelty to Animals Act, as well as being possibly fined for trespassing, as they had jumped a fence to get to the chickens.

"The courts look at these matters in the most serious light, and any offenders identified would most certainly be put before the courts," he said.


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