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Campaigners Claim Victory For Hen Layer Hens


Campaigners Claim Victory For Hen Layer Hens

All layer hens in New Zealand are likely to have a better way of life after a parliamentary committee recognised that the current Code of Welfare was a sham and ordered a rewrite.

Animal Rights Legal Advocacy Network (ARLAN) complained to the Regulations Review Committee that the code did not comply with the Animal Welfare Act. This Act recommends that animals should be able to display normal patterns of behaviour.

The committee agreed and recommended the code be sent back to National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), who originally wrote the code.

Campaign Against Factory Farming (CAFF) spokesperson Debra Ashton says the decision by the multi-party committee is "a victory for common sense and sound science", and she hopes it will lead to a complete phase out of battery hen cages.

"Hopefully NAWAC will do their job properly this time, although it is highly unlikely a new code would call for an immediate ban.

"In the interim, CAFF are urging all members of parliament to support the Consumer'’s Right to Know (Food Information) Bill.

"If this bill goes ahead, it is hoped it will help lessen the number of battery hens sooner, as it would require eggs from caged hens to be labelled appropriately as free range and barn eggs are.

"The public have been misled by false advertising on egg cartons carrying labels that bring up images of hens happily grazing on green pastures. With accurate labelling, consumers will be able to immediately see what they are buying."

The bill, introduced to parliament by Green Party Member Sue Kedgley, also includes more accurate labelling on whether food contains GE ingredients and which country the food actually comes from.

Currently in New Zealand, about 3 million hens live in cages that don’t allow them to walk, stretch their wings, peck, scratch or dust bathe.

"These are most unnatural conditions which show no regard for their welfare," says Ms Ashton.

The code for pigs is also to come under similar scrutiny with about 30 percent of pig farmers still using sow stalls in which the animals cannot even turn around.


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