A troupe of human "chickens" are victorious after a plan by a company belonging to three Whangarei businessmen to build one of the country's largest caged egg farms was shut down.

The Environment Court this week declined consent for Craddock Farms to build an egg farm that would cage 300,000 hens in Patumahoe south of Auckland.

The Stop Craddock Farms group targeted the Rathbone St offices of Yovich Hayward Pevats Johnston Chartered Accountants and Yovich & Co Wealth Management four times in the past year, with some protesters donning chicken costumes. Two businessmen at the companies, Wally Yovich and Mark Pevats, are also directors of Craddock Farms. Craddock Farms' third director, Richard Johns, is also from Whangarei.

The case was heard late last year at the Environment Court after Craddock Farms appealed Auckland City Council's decision to decline consent amid concerns odour emissions would affect nearby residents and businesses. A petition to Wally Yovich not to fund the factory farm reached more than 10,000 signatures. Stop Craddock Farms spokeswoman Deidre Sims said the decision was "a huge victory" against a "giant caged hell hole".


Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said New Zealand was "one of the four best countries in the world" for animal welfare.

Mr Yovich said he had a manager in Auckland who had dealt with the case and declined to comment, other than to say "if people down there don't want any food it's their problem".

In December 2012 the Government released a new welfare code for layer hens that bans the standard battery cage, but allows the multi-hen colony cages.