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Greens horrified at one million hen battery farm

26 October 2001

Greens horrified at one million hen battery farm

Green Animal Welfare spokesperson Sue Kedgley today said she is horrified at an Environment Court decision to allow Mainland Poultry to expand a Dunedin battery farm from 270,000 to 1,000,000 hens.

"At a time when the battery hen cage is under review and the public are becoming increasingly concerned about its use, it is absurd to allow hundreds of thousands more battery hen cages to be installed in an intensive farm like this," she said.

"The Code of Animal Welfare for Battery Hens will shortly go out for public consultation, and my expectation is that there will be a requirement for the battery hen cage to be phased out over the next decade.

"These cages, which are around the size of an A4 piece of paper, directly contravene the requirement in the Animal Welfare Act for animals such as hens to be able to express natural forms of behaviour."

Ms Kedgley said she had visited Mainland Poultry's Waikouaiti battery farm in Dunedin late last year, and had been horrified by the sight of tens of thousands of chickens crammed into battery hen cages.

"Many of these chickens were without feathers and their tiny cages were piled up to seven levels high. Now this awful farm is going to be so much bigger and so many more birds will suffer.

"I am sure that if consumers were able to visit factory farms and see the way hens are reared in cages, where they cannot even turn around, stretch their wings or exercise in any way, there would be a consumer revolt.

"With public outrage at the cruel way many animals are treated in New Zealand growing by the day, it would be foolish for Mainland Poultry to invest in new cages, when it is only a matter of time before battery hen cages will be illegal in New Zealand."

ENDS

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