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Groups Hails Victory At Rejected Hen Welfare Code

11 May 2006

Groups Hails Victory At Rejected Hen Welfare Code

New Zealand’s most controversial code of welfare regarding layer hens has been found to be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act by a parliamentary committee. Animal welfare campaigners against battery hen farming have claimed victory. National animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the findings are a national disgrace, as they point to an abuse of the legal process, and calls for ‘heads to roll’.

Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee (RRC) has released a 41-page report on its investigation into a joint complaint made by the Animal Rights Legal Advocacy Network, Campaign Against Factory Farming and SAFE. The RRC has rejected the layer hen code that was written by the Minister of Agriculture’s advisory group, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC).

“This is a huge victory for common sense”, says SAFE campaign director Hans Kriek. “The findings confirm claims SAFE made over a year ago that the process was biased and unjust. The RRC was also right to condemn the inappropriate use of the clause ‘exceptional circumstances’ that ultimately allowed the continued use of battery cages within the code. The RRC has recommended the code be rewritten and a phase-out of battery cages be introduced. This is a decision that SAFE welcomes.”

“The RRC findings are a huge embarrassment for NAWAC. We hold this advisory group accountable for animal suffering and for trying to make unlawful animal abuse practices legal. Perhaps NAWAC members should resign as the Committee has let itself be compromised by kowtowing to the egg industry. NAWAC has ignored the plight of nearly three million caged hens when it knows battery cages don’t comply with the Animal Welfare Act”.

SAFE is seeking clarification from the Minister of Agriculture as to how he intends to include a ban on battery cages in the code and what action he will take to ensure NAWAC works within its legal mandate in the future.

For more information contact: Hans Kriek, SAFE campaign director, 027 446 2711.


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