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Push For Continuation Of Battery Cages Offensive

17 July 2002

Push For Continuation Of Battery Cages Offensive - Greens

Green MP Sue Kedgley is urging New Zealanders to send a clear message to the egg and poultry industry after the industry Code of Animal Welfare for Layer Hens, released today, called for the indefinite use of battery cages.

"The Code which industry have released today is deeply offensive, and is an affront to hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who oppose animal cruelty and who have signed petitions calling for the ban of the battery cage," said Ms Kedgley.

"It is time the industry entered the 21st Century, and recognised that farming practices which cause animals to endure lives of suffering in cages is intolerable to the vast majority of New Zealanders. People are pushing for change and the Greens are determined to see it.

"It is crucial that New Zealanders who oppose these cruel cages speak out strongly and tell industry they must change. The Greens want to make this an election issue but we need New Zealanders behind us."

Ms Kedgley predicted that New Zealanders would not be fooled by the industry proposal that slightly modified cages, with an extra 10 centimetres of space for each bird, would somehow improve the conditions of caged hens, and reduce their suffering.

"It is a ridiculous proposal which will not reduce the suffering of hens, or allow them to display anything like normal patterns of behaviour. The hens in modified cages will still have less space than an A4 sheet of paper to live their entire lives in, and this is cruel and unacceptable."

Ms Kedgley said the Green Party wants New Zealand to follow Switzerland and Germany in phasing out all caged hens. In Germany standard sized cages will be illegal by 2007, and modified cages by 2012.

"The German Green Party Minister of Agriculture has taken a lead in getting chickens out of cages, and the New Zealand Green Party pledges to do the same."

Sue will launch the Green Party's new Animal Welfare policy at midday today with the symbolic release of three ex-battery hens on the back lawn of parliament.


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