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Government chickens out on battery cages

26 July 2006

Government chickens out on battery cages

The Government has chickened out and crossed the road on imposing tougher measures for more humane conditions for layer hens, Green Party MP Sue Kedgley says.

"The Government has all but ignored recommendations from Parliament's Regulations Review Committee in May to re-write the Layer Hen code and has totally discounted the committee's findings that the current codes does not comply with the Animal Welfare Act.

"I am appalled that the Government appears to have buckled to the wishes of the poultry lobby. In a statement issued today Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton clearly chickened out on enforcing recommendations that layer hen cages be phased out.

"Mr Anderton simply repeats the industry line that there are also animal welfare issues with barn and free range systems too. I am happy to provide him with ample scientific studies that show that uncaged hens are happier and healthier than their caged counterparts - particularly when they are given material to forage in.

"Hens can't even turn around in layer hen cages, or stretch their wings or express normal patterns of behaviour. It's a travesty that such cruel kinds of cages should be permitted at all.

"The Government has simply disregarded the committee's finding that the existing layer hen cages do not comply with the principles of the Animal Welfare Act which require animals to be able to display normal patterns of behaviour," Ms Kedgley said.

ENDS

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