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Foxes In The Henhouse

Wed, 22 Dec 2004

Foxes In The Henhouse

Campaign Against Factory Farming (CAFF) spokesperson Debra Ashton, says her group is horrified the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), claiming to have interests in animal welfare, has made recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Sutton, allowing cruel battery hen and pig farming to continue.

"We suspect foxes in the henhouse. It is obvious NAWAC has not considered the welfare of animals at all. If they won't oppose severe confinement on the basis of cruelty, despite public opposition and scientific evidence, then we believe they must have another agenda."

NAWAC have asked for more research into battery hen farming and a slight increase in the size of cages. The code does not allow further review until 2009. Earlier this month, a leaked advisory report and a draft copy of the code of welfare showed that a recommendation against battery hen cages had been removed.

The Layer Hen Welfare Code was drafted in 2001 after the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act in 1999. The code was written by egg producers, submitted to NAWAC and then released for public submissions. NAWAC received over 120,000 public submissions against battery hen cages. Earlier NAWAC received a similar number opposing severe confinement of sows in stalls.

A 2002 Colmar Brunton survey found that 79 percent of New Zealanders were opposed to battery hen farming. It also found they wanted a ban as soon as possible and were prepared to pay more for eggs that came from humane methods of farming.

"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 far more in battery cages than well managed alternative systems", says Ashton.

"Mr Sutton should resign from his Ministerial position as he has betrayed the New Zealand public, good scientific practice and most of all, the animals".


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