Government decision on battery hens gutless, incompetent and shortsighted
7 December 2012
The abuse of battery hens is set to continue indefinitely with the release of the new code of welfare for layer hens. SAFE has slammed the Government for its gutless, incompetent and shortsighted decision to introduce the new colony battery hen cages.
"The Government's statement that layer hen cages are to be phased out is a blatant lie." says SAFE Executive Director Hans Kriek. "The Government has now embarked on a campaign to mislead consumers about the future of New Zealand's three million layer hens. The fact is that the supposed welfare benefits of colony battery cages are superficial, and the hens will still be living on a space little more than an A4 sheet of paper.
"Further comments by the Government that the new code will ensure that hens live in an environment that meet their welfare needs and allow them to carry out their normal behaviour are shameful. How can a chicken express her normal behaviour crammed into a tiny cage, standing on a sloping wire floor with not even enough space to freely stretch her wings?" says Mr Kriek.
Welfare code pleases no one
SAFE says the welfare code will please no one. "In deciding to introduce the new style of battery cages the National Government thumbed it's nose to the eight out of ten New Zealanders who want to see battery cages for hens banned," says Mr Kriek. "In addition, by continuing to allow cages the Government has failed to resolve the ongoing controversy surrounding egg production methods."
"The National Government's decision is gutless," says Mr Kriek. "It has bowed to the demands of a mere 47 battery hen farmers who want to continue to cruelly confine their hens in cages. I'm sure many Kiwis would agree that the Government is also incompetent, as colony battery cages simply do not meet the welfare requirements of the Animal Welfare Act.
The continuation of cages is shortsighted as New Zealand consumers and animal advocates will not accept colony battery cages. The fight against this cruelty will only stop when all cages are gone."
SAFE strongly believes the new code does not meet the principles of this country's animal welfare legislation and is considering taking legal action to stop the introduction of colony battery cages.
"If the Government thinks it can get away with replacing one cruel cage for another, they‘ve got another thing coming." says Mr Kriek.