29 January 1999
Euro-MPs vote to ban battery cages
By FWi staff
THE European Parliament yesterday voted to ban the use of battery hen cages by 1 January, 2009.
European MPs voted by a majority of two-thirds for a total ban on the cages, going beyond more limited measures proposed by the European Commission.
The vote is not binding on member states but marks a significant escalation of the Europe-wide campaign to improve the plight of factory-farmed animals.
Campaigners are now expected to urge the Council of Agriculture Ministers, to introduce a ban throughout the 15 member states.
Agriculture minister Nick Brown is committed to pressing for the phasing out of cages for battery hens but argues that the UK cannot afford to act unilaterally.
A Commission spokesman said yesterdays that any reform would have to be accompanied by global rules to stop cheap imports flooding the market.
About 90% of British eggs come from battery hens but the percentage is higher in the European Union.
British egg producers said they would demand compensation if they were forced to switch to more expensive free-range systems.