On 4th April 2023, a man in China was sentenced to prison for sneaking onto his neighbour’s property in Hunan province to scare to death the chickens kept there, as part of a revenge plan. Mr Gu was convicted of using a flashlight to terrify the birds, which caused them to kill one another after they crowded in panic into a corner of the coop. 

Mr Gu had done this several times. The first time he trespassed 500 of the chickens died, and he was later arrested. After he was ordered to pay his neighbour, Mr Zhong, 3,000 yuan, he returned and repeated the offence, which killed about 500 more chickens. It is believed that this was part of a long-held feud between the two men that began in April 2022 when Gu chopped down Zhong’s trees without permission or notification. The Hengyang court sentenced Gu to six months in prison with one year of probation.

The court heard the incidents cost Mr Zhong $2,015, supposedly because he was profiting by forcing the chickens to produce eggs, he would later steal from them, or because he was selling their bodies as food after sending the chickens to a slaughterhouse. It reflects the reality of living in a world without animal rights that the person who killed some of the chickens by frighting them was punished but the person who arrange to kill them all was not. This inconsistent problem can be found both in Eastern countries such as China and in Western countries such as the US, where the courts would probably have given a similar sentence if the incident had occurred there.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.