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CAFF Pleased 20 Chooks Rescued

Campaign Against Factory Farming

The Campaign Against Factory Farming is very pleased that 20 hens rescued by activists from Turks Poultry Farm in Foxton will be able to live out the rest of their lives in freedom, and not in cramped and barren cages.

CAFF chair and agricultural scientist Dr. Michael Morris, who has recently published a scientific account of the battery hen debate in New Zealand, rejects claims by Ron Turk that hens are better looked after in battery cages. "Every reputable poultry welfare scientist has confirmed the common sense view that hens suffer physically and psychologically in battery cages but not in well-managed non-cage systems", says Dr. Morris. "We have evidence for annual mortality rates of over 21% in New Zealand battery farms on our website.

"Furthermore, antibiotics are more likely to be used in battery cages than free range or barn conditions, because of the unhealthy nature of the living conditions. Beak trimming is not required in non-cage systems and in fact cages and beak trimming have been illegal in Switzerland since the 1990s".

The publication by Dr. Morris, which will appear shortly in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics also provides strong evidence for industry pressure on government and government capitulation to the pressure. "Ministers Anderton and Sutton have ignored science, ignored public concern, ignored overseas trends, ignored the Animal Welfare Act, and ignored a cross party Parliamentary Select Committee in their eagerness to do the bidding of the Egg Producers Federation and keep battery cages going", says Dr. Morris.

CAFF has a policy of not breaking the law, but CAFF can understand the frustration of the activists who rescued the hens. "Animal welfare groups have used legitimate parliamentary channels, we played the game according to established rules and won.

"Minister Anderton responded by changing the rules, rejecting the Regulations Review Committee recommendations and instead bowing to new pressure from the industry. If legitimate channels are ignored by government, then illegitimate ones will increasingly be used", says Dr. Morris.

ends

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