Roland Rocchiccioli

“I love dogs but I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet about chooks. My mother, Beria, kept chooks for fifty years. Chooks are not as silly as some people think. They form attachments, they really love you. Our chooks let us pick them up and pet them. Polly the Bantam used to follow us to the post office and the shop. Polly went everywhere.

Don’t ever think chooks are insensitive. They know the difference between being locked up and having freedom. I get really distressed when I hear people say chooks don’t suffer. When we lived in the goldfields Beria kept a tray about six feet by four feet by two inches deep in the chook house. She would fill it with water and when it was hot the chooks would all stand in it to cool down.

Battery hens can’t do that, or get out and have sand baths. Their feathers are falling out, they are crippled and they live amongst the rotting carcasses of other hens. Don’t listen to egg farmers who tell you they look after their hens. I must admit, I’m buying fewer and fewer eggs now because I know the treatment of hens is so awful.

I don’t keep chooks here in the city but I do feed the wild birds every day; the doves, sparrows and those awful Indian miner birds. People say you shouldn’t because they will become dependant on you. Well, I don’t mind. People are so wasteful. They throw out half-eaten loaves of bread.

Why don’t they share them with the birds? I also feel very strongly about testing on animals. It was Linda McCartney who introduced me to cruelty-free products. I always check products to make sure they are cruelty-free. I hope other people do too. Most of the cosmetics that people spend vast amounts of money on are absolute rubbish anyway.

I find the lack of regard some people have for animals absolutely extraordinary. I love my dogs dearly. And what do they want in return? Nothing. Their love is unconditional. They just want to be with me. “

“The cosmetic companies are, of course, making a fortune. They don’t care about animals or people, just profit.”