24 July 1997
Battery cages for hens must be scrapped
Battery cages for laying hens are cruel and should be phased out of the European Union, says a report released today. The report Report on the Welfare of Laying Hens was released by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and has the official backing of the government.
Birds often turn cannibalistic and peck each other to death through lack of animal protein in the diets of laying hens, the report says. It describes the existing rules on the minimum space allowance for hens as unacceptable and calls for the cage sizes to be enlarged from 450cm sq to 600cm sq a hen. It says these changes should be introduced over the next five years.
It calls for battery cages to be scrapped in the long-term subject to:
The Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said the council ought to be congratulated for undertaking the wide-ranging review, and that the findings mirror the views of the government. Its recommendations give independent support to the governments own view that we must plan an end to the practice of keeping laying hens in battery cages, MAFF said.