‘Disturbing putrid’ scenes that drove model to steal pigs
A vegan activist who says she was inspired to "rescue" piglets after seeing the "putrid" conditions they lived in at a piggery was devastated to learn in court that the animals she took were later euthanised.
Model and animal rights activist Lauren Ann McGeachin today pleaded guilty to two separate break-ins at an egg farm and a piggery in which chickens and piglets were stolen last year.
Defence lawyer Kate McArthur told the court McGeachin, 28, had no intention of stealing the piglets during the November break in at a Goondiwindi piggery and had just wanted to see the conditions inside the facility.
However she said McGeachin became distressed by the "disturbing" and "putrid" conditions she found the animals in, which led to her and several co-offenders stealing six piglets.
"She has decided to go along with them to the facility out of a desire to see the conditions for herself after viewing videos about the realities of these facilities online," Ms McArthur said.
"The conditions she found the animals in were extremely confronting.
"Film she captured shows hordes of pigs packed tightly into a space crawling over each other."
The confronting images are still on McGeachin's social media page which Magistrate Anthony Gett acknowledged helped police track her down.
"There's pig parts and bodies around the facility and most disturbingly is a mother sow trapped in a narrow crate," Ms McArthur said of the images and videos.
"The sow was on her side with a litter of live piglets suckling from her and at her feet are a rotting pile of piglet carcasses.
"Judging from the state of them it appears they have been decaying there for some time."
Ms McArthur said McGeachin, who became a vegan nine years ago, was distressed by the scenes inside the piggery.
"When she first went in there she's gone along simply out of a desire to look and to see for herself what the conditions are in there," she said.
"She had no intention of touching anything much less taking anything but when she's got in there she's confronted with this putrid scene and she's become she tells me overwhelmed, she was very distressed and she removed some of the live piglets who appeared to be in a very, very unwell state and she's also showed me photos on her phone.
"She's taken them out of a desire for their immediate welfare."
The court heard police found McGeachin in possession of two of the six piglets stolen from the facility and that due to biosecurity concerns, the animals were unable to be returned and had to be euthanised.
The court heard that months earlier in July, McGeachin broke into an egg farm at Cannigvale where she and others handled a number of chickens and other members of the group stole some of the animals.
"Ms McGeachin is a young woman with a passion for animals," Ms McArthur said.
"She feels strongly about animal welfare."
She said the model had been a vegan for nine years and had previously volunteered with the RSPCA and an animal sanctuary and recently appeared in an ad campaign promoting veganism.
Magistrate Gett sentenced McGeachin to 90 hours of community service and did not record a conviction.
She was also ordered to pay $300 restitution for the piglets.
Originally published as The 'disturbing, putrid' scenes that drove model to steal pigs