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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- An animal rights group has claimed responsibility for the theft of hens from a Utah County egg farm -- but farm owners aren't sure the heist took place.
The Animal Liberation Front claims its members broke into a shed at Shepherd's Egg Farm in Spanish Fork on Nov. 1, taking away 100 hens from a flock of about 500,000.
In a statement Tuesday, the group said the animals were held in cruel conditions and have since been treated by a veterinarian and given away. "They will all live out their full life span here instead of being killed when no longer profitable," the statement said.
Farm operators are puzzled by ALF's claim. Workers have never noticed or reported any damages to farm sheds or missing hens. The farm first learned of the alleged theft from news reporters, spokesman Mitch Head said.
Photographs posted on ALF's Web site described as being taken during the heist are vague and could be from anywhere, Head said. "It's hard to tell one chicken from another," he said.
Still, the company plans to file a report with local police and the FBI. "If in fact they have stolen some animals from our property, it would be no different than going into your home and stealing an animal, a pet from your home," Head said.
The Department of Homeland Security designated the ALF as a terrorist group in 2005. ALF has a reputation for stealing animals and damaging businesses that use animals for medical or scientific testing.
Information from: The Daily Herald
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)