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One Step Closer to Eradicating Battery Hen Cages

BY DIONNE LISTER

Wow, we have some happy news to report. People power is making a difference. In Tasmania, the government has recently announced that battery hens and sow stalls at piggeries are going to be phased out. They have taken this step because of increasing consumer concern about the welfare of animals.

No new licenses for battery hen farms will be issued, and a cap on the number of existing ones is going to be put in place. This sounds good, however the government has not stated when, or if, all farms will have to get rid of their cages. It is a step in the right direction but some Tasmanian farms will still have battery hens.

The sow crates are a different story, thank goodness. All crates for pregnant sows are being phased out by 2015. This is the practice of keeping the sow in an extremely small space. The pig cannot move around which leads to urinary tract infection, the sow becoming distressed and aggressive, and ultimately an early death. It is interesting to note that sow crates have been banned in the UK for the last ten years.

Battery hens have been banned in the EU, seven American states and Switzerland. Hens suffer greatly when they are confined in these small cages where they don’t even have the space to stretch out their wings. They spend their whole lives there, usually 18 months of what’s supposed to be around 12 years, as they are slaughtered when their egg-laying rate slows.

At least the Tasmanian government is taking a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done in Australia to ban battery and caged eggs as soon as possible. Visit the RSPCA website and find out how you can join the push to ban these practices. Check out our previous post "Dirty Dozen-the truth about free-range eggs" for advice on how to buy real free-range eggs. So let’s continue to hen-peck the government and help the chickens have a happier life. 

What do you think?


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