STRASBOURG (AFP) – A French court convicted a factory farmer of animal abandonment on Tuesday after he allowed at least 35,000 chickens to starve to death.
Zeki Karahancer, a 43-year-old Turkish national, was handed a nine-month suspended jail sentence, a 3,000 euro (3,900 dollar) fine and a five-year ban on managing battery farms.
He let the birds die in late 2010 after a financial dispute with his feed supplier left him short on food at the Kingersheim farm in eastern France which he ran as manager of Alsace Oeufs, the court in Strasbourg heard.
Surviving birds pecked at the carcasses to quell their hunger.
The deaths angered local residents after flies swarmed to the corpses, and drew the ire of animal rights groups as up to 6,000 chickens a day died at the farm, far above the industry average of 100 to 150 battery birds a week.
Authorities eventually removed 35,000 carcasses and sent a remaining 135,000 birds to the slaughterhouse.