Dust storms pose on­go­ing health risks

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By LY­DIA PEDRANA By LY­DIA PEDRANA

FIVE hun­dred re­tired lay­ing chick­ens from a lo­cal farm will be look­ing for their for­ever home this Sun­day.

The Hen Res­cue pickup, run by not­for-profit char­ity Let The Ladies Go, is seek­ing to re­home the flock to save them from the slaugh­ter­house.

Founder of Let The Ladies Go, Ta­nia Daykin, hopes to draw at­ten­tion to chicken ex­ploita­tion and pro­vide the an­i­mals with a lov­ing home after a life of pro­duc­ing eggs.

Egg-lay­ing hens are typ­i­cally dis­posed of at 18 months old, but this is when Ms Daykin steps in.

“What we do is come in (to chicken farms) and load the girls into our truck and take them to var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, and as long as peo­ple com­ply with our very sim­ple rules, which are de­signed to pro­tect the girls, we give them to them,” she told Dubbo Photo News.

“So far we have res­cued and re­homed 36,000 chick­ens and this week­end there will be about 500 from a smaller farm in the Dubbo area.”

Ms Daykin’s rules for res­cu­ing a chicken in­clude a limit of 10 ladies per house­hold, no breed­ing or selling of eggs, the home must be preda­tor proof, and suit­able boxes or carry cages must be brought along on the day to safely trans­port the an­i­mals home.

The lo­ca­tion of the re­hom­ing op­er­a­tion is also kept un­der wraps and only dis­closed to res­cuers once they have reg­is­tered and been ap­proved as le­git­i­mate.

While many peo­ple in the Dubbo area have al­ready reg­is­tered, Ms Daykin said there are still chick­ens that will need a home.

“We’re about a third of where we need to be for the event this week, so we need a few more peo­ple on board,” she said.

“Other­wise we have to bring the girls back to our home base in Man­da­long and that’s not fair on the girls, it’s bet­ter if we can re­home them in the area they are from.”

As a for­mer hu­man rights lawyer who also served for 12 years in the NSW po­lice force, Ms Daykin de­scribes her­self as some­one who has “al­ways stood up for the un­der­dog”.

“I guess I am an ac­tivist of sorts in that I don’t like see­ing be­ings be­ing bul­lied – and if they can’t speak up for them­selves, some­one needs to,” she said.

For those in­ter­ested in adopt­ing chick­ens as pets this week­end, call Ta­nia on 0415 258 915.

WITH another dust storm stir­ring through the re­gion on Tues­day, the com­mu­nity is be­ing re­minded of the po­ten­tial health risks.

Peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly those with asthma or heart and lung con­di­tions should avoid out­door ac­tiv­ity and in­stead stay in­doors with win­dows and doors closed, ac­cord­ing to NSW Health.

Where pos­si­ble, stay­ing in an air-con­di­tioned area where dust par­ti­cles are fil­tered and avoid­ing stren­u­ous ex­er­cise is also ad­vised.

Dust par­ti­cles vary in size, from coarse, to fine, to very fine, and it is the smaller ones which pose the most risk to health as they can be in­haled deep into the lungs.

As well as trig­ger­ing pre-ex­ist­ing breath­ing-re­lated prob­lems, these par­ti­cles can also cause itchy eyes, throat ir­ri­ta­tion, runny nose and ill­ness such as bron­chi­tis, even to those who are gen­er­ally healthy.

Those most vul­ner­a­ble dur­ing a dust storm are in­fants, chil­dren, ado­les­cents, the el­derly, peo­ple with re­s­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions, peo­ple with heart dis­ease and peo­ple with di­a­betes.

On top of the health risks, vis­i­bil­ity can de­te­ri­o­rate at a rapid pace dur­ing a dust storm.

If you are driv­ing dur­ing an episode, NSW Health rec­om­mends re­duc­ing your speed and pulling over if vi­sion is im­paired to less than 100 me­tres.

Dust storms de­velop when there is a com­bi­na­tion of strong wind, dry soil, an un­sta­ble at­mos­phere and low mois­ture in the air.

Given the cur­rent drought, soil is par­tic­u­larly dry and eas­ily picked up by strong wind.

They are most com­mon in Spring be­cause of the cold fronts that move over the coun­try’s south­east and in­te­rior.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy, tem­per­a­tures in Dubbo and Welling­ton will sit in the low 30s over the week­end and into next week, with winds of up to 30 kilo­me­tres per hour.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS/EMY LOU

Dubbo’s Annabelle Arnold loves hav­ing chick­ens at her fam­ily home.

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