Live chicken thrown in air, forced to smoke at Stellenbosch res party
Cape Town – The feathers of animal anti-cruelty activists have been ruffled after a video emerged at the weekend of a live chicken being thrown into the air at a Stellenbosch University residence party.
Photos also showed a lit cigarette being pushed into the chicken's beak during the Helshoogte Residence's "hoenderdag" (chicken day) on Saturday.
The residence came out against the animal abuse on its Facebook page on the same day, saying the guilty party was not affiliated to them. The chicken was also not under its ownership and care.
A poster circulating on social media advertised a R30 entrance fee for the six-hour event, which apparently included nine stalls and four DJs. The event took place on the residence's premises.
The incident was reported to its house committee by a concerned student.
"We condemn this behaviour on all fronts, and it is not the type of behaviour we ever wish to promote at this residence," the statement by the residence read.
Chicken 'safe and being taken care of'
The Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch (AWSS) started investigating after receiving the video and photos on Saturday.
"Through our social media posting, we received the contact details of the individual who threw the chicken up in the air," AWSS spokesperson Jessica Perrins told News24.
"He was just attending the hoenderdag. We got hold of the headmaster of the res, but by that time the gentleman had left."
She said a number of witnesses had come forward.
"It is an act of cruelty, so we will be discussing the way forward to prosecute."
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said they condemned animal cruelty and were investigating the incident.
"Hoenderdag is a celebration of music and dance with food stalls. The name originates from the residence emblem/crest featuring a chicken (hoender in Afrikaans) – considered a revered and respected symbol by residents. Chickens are however not involved in the day."
Viljoen said the principal perpetrator was not a resident of the residence, a student or an alumnus.
"The event was open to the public and security was in attendance at the entrances and exits. It is unclear at this stage how the individual managed bring the chicken onto the premises."
He said all indications were that this was an isolated incident. The university had not received any other similar complaints.
The chicken was safe and being taken care of.