LUV-A-DUCK executives have praised the actions of staff after animal activists protested at the Nhill business on Thursday.
About 55 activists from six states representing Bear Witness Australia and Aussie Farms entered the site – Luv-a-Duck’s processing plant – about 6am to protest what they labelled unethical treatment of animals.
They filled clam shell pools with water and removed ducks from the business to allow them to swim, and also climbed onto a rooftop with banners.
Police were at the scene.
Luv-a-Duck owner Theresa Sfetkidis – whose father Arthur Shoppee established the business – said she was extremely proud of how staff handled the actions.
“Everybody did the right thing and tried to protect our company,” she said.
“It's very emotional, the support we have from our people.
“It’s so personal when we get attacked like this.”
Luv-a-Duck chief executive Daryl Bussell, who was on site during the protest, said the activists trespassed onto private property to gain access to the site.
“They have a view that is somewhat different to the scientific evidence we have. They would prefer to see ducks in open-range environments,” he said.
“Our ducks do have access to water.”
Mr Bussell said staff monitored the protesters and did not want to escalate the action.
“When people who have a very different ideology come onto private property and try to force their opinions on others, that's a potentially volatile situation,” he said.
“I'm very pleased to say our staff didn't confront them or try to take them on.
“We shut the processing down until the people moved off, both for the safety of our own people and the protesters.”
Bear Witness Australia and Aussie Farms spokeswoman Lissy Jayne said the group wanted to highlight what they believed were poor practices.
“We went in with clam pools and filled them up with water, and allowed the ducks to swim for the first time in their lives,” she said.
“For seven weeks of their lives, ducks are never given access to surface water. This causes a lot of problems for them.
“We wanted to draw attention to that massive issue.
“We requested to take the ducks we'd let in the water with us. The company didn't comply with that request, but we took them anyway, so we got 18 ducks out of there.”
EARLIER – 9.59AM
Protesters have left Luv-a-Duck in Nhill.
Nhill police’s Les Newton said the protest finished about 9.30am.
He said police would investigate further, but could not say if there would be any legal ramifications for the people involved.
EARLIER – 9.14AM
ANIMAL activists from across Australia have converged on Luv-a-Duck in Nhill to protest animal conditions.
Bear Witness Australia and Aussie Farms – labeling themselves the Dominion Movement – are co-ordinating the action.
On Thursday morning about 55 activists were occupying a rooftop with large banners.
Dozens of protesters from six states were also in the site's loading dock, where have filled shell pools with water and removed ducks from the business to allow them to swim.
Their action started just before 6am.
Police have confirmed the action and are on scene.
Bear Witness and Aussie Farms spokeswoman Lissy Jane said in a statement the groups wanted to draw attention to hidden camera footage released this year from inside the business.
She said they also wanted to highlight "inherent cruelty of an industry in which aquatic animals are farmed without access to surface water, and the myth of human, ethical slaughter".
The groups claim ducks are raised over seven weeks with no access to surface water before being put in crates and trucked to a slaughterhouse.