MORE than 4000 rare chickens on death row in quarantine on Torrens Island have been given a stay of execution until 10am on Friday.
A syndicate which spent a decade and $500,000 importing the poultry obtained a last minute court injunction halting the planned destruction of the flock at 7am today but Department of Agriculture officials insist the birds will have to be destroyed.
The Australian Rare Poultry Importation Syndicate is meeting with its lawyers today seeking advice on alternatives to save the chickens.
The destruction order was issued late Friday after a single, week-old chick died and an autopsy concluded the death was due to a strain of salmonella.
The letter advising the syndicate of the impending destruction from the officer who issued the order said it would receive 'a statement of reasons for my decision in the near future.'
The syndicate says the disease has not been detected in any other birds, including 'sentinel' birds bred to be susceptible to disease, and suspect it may be a 'false-positive' result.
Federal Court to decide fate of 4000 rare chooks on July 25
ADELAIDE'S now world famous death row chickens have another stay of execution after Federal Court Judge Anthony Besanko gave 4000 fancy imported birds a second lifeline until midnight on July 25.
The chickens - being followed in blogs and petitions from around the world - arrived in Adelaide as eggs in what supporters say is a 'Noah's ark' project to replenish the local gene pool, as meat chickens are hybrids and no new non-commercial breeds have arrived since 1948.
However, the 10 year, $500,000 project to establish a disease-free flock made up of 45 breeds from the United Kingdom then bringing their fertile eggs to Australia faces disaster after the eggs hatched nine weeks ago and one of several chicks which died, was diagnosed with salmonella.