EU improve conditions for battery hens

12 March 1998

EU improve conditions for battery hens

FARMERS will receive financial aid from the European Union (EU) and national governments to offset the costs of doubling minimum space requirements for battery hens, the European Commission outlined yesterday.

If backed by member states, the larger cage sizes will apply to yet to be built chicken sheds from next January and all existing farms from January 2009.

Minimum areas in battery cages would rise from 450 sq cm (69.7 sq in) to
800 sq cm (124 sq in). Regulations for temperature, lighting and ventilation are stipulated as well.

The Commission also suggested all eggs should bear a label describing the
type of production system used. Details of this still have to be worked out.

These latest moves follow a commitment made last year in the EUs Amsterdam Treaty to improve animal welfare. The EU might seek to change World Trade Organisation rules to address welfare concerns as part of the commitment.

  • Financial Times 12/03/98 page 2
  • The Times 12/03/98 page 10
  • The Daily Telegraph 12/03/98 page 19

(see Chickens fly coop under EU reforms).

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