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Hens Await Their Fate

Hens Await Their Fate

Tuesday, 21 December 2005

Animal rights activists will show their reaction to the new code of welfare governing layer hens and pigs, when Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton announces it at 11-15am, tomorrow at Bowen House.

"Campaign Against Factory Farming (CAFF) will assemble outside Bowen House to hear the changes", says CAFF spokesperson Debra Ashton.

"We are not holding our breath after hearing what the draft code had in it for layer hens,when it was prepared earlier this year. However, we are hoping the Minster will heed the call of 79 percent of New Zealanders who told a 2002 Colmar Brunton survey they wanted to see battery hen farming banned and that they would be prepared to pay higher prices for their eggs so the hens didn't have to suffer anymore."

A leaked ministerial advisory report and draft copy of the code, prepared by government appointed National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), earlier this year, revealed recommendations that further research was needed before any decision could be made on battery cages. It also stated the minimum cage space per hen be increased from 450 centimetres to 500 centimetres, by 2008. That would be little more than the size of a credit card for each bird.

"The European Commission is phasing out battery hen cages following recommendations from their Scientific Veterinary Committee. This committee provided scientific evidence that supports the common sense view that hens suffer in battery cages. The scientific community is overwhelmingly of the opinion that well run alternative systems provide vastly superior welfare outcomes to battery cages, so it is quite mystifying what further research the Minister still requires"

CAFF have been running battery hen farming education stalls throughout the Wellington region this year and recently organised demonstrations outside The Wellington Egg Company, a battery farm in Judgeford.


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