07 July 1999
French desert countryside for town

GERMANYS supreme court has ruled that most of the countrys poultry farmers are breaking the law by confining birds in cages which breach animal welfare laws.

Poultry farmers in Germany have been allowed to practise battery egg production with the hens confined to cages of 450cm2 – the same as in Britain.

But a court in Karlsruhe has ruled that the minimum space should now be 700cm2.

The ruling puts Germany in conflict with the European Union which only last month said that 550cm2 should be the minimum from 2003.

The European Union has said it will phase out battery hen farming by 2010.