Battery hens' caged future extended again

20 June 2013

Battery hens are once again being let down by officials looking out for business and profit ahead of animal welfare. Egg industries have successfully lobbied the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to delay the transition dates leading to a ban on conventional battery hen cages, as they want to use the cruel cages for longer.
NAWAC is proposing to delay each of the transition steps by two years, while still retaining the final date when conventional cages will be phased out.

"Battery cages do not allow hens to express their normal behaviours and have therefore been in breach of the Animal Welfare Act since its introduction in 2000. Instead of enforcing the law and banning these cages immediately NAWAC colluded with farmers to allow the ongoing use of battery cages for up to a shocking 22 years," says SAFE executive director Hans Kriek.

In 2012, NAWAC decided on three transition dates to phase out battery cages, 2016, 2018 and finally 2022. This decision was announced in the Code of Welfare for Layer Hens, a code that NAWAC took three years to write.

"By delaying the transition NAWAC again shows how easily it crumbles under industry pressure. This incompetent committee already failed the hens by allowing colony battery hen cages to replace conventional cages despite the fact that colony cages still do not allow the hens to express their normal behaviour. NAWAC is now set to extend the suffering of battery hens even further," says Mr Kriek.
"What is most outrageous is NAWAC's claim to be committed to getting layer hens out of battery cages, when in reality they are sentencing hens to modified cage systems for decades to come," says Mr Kriek. "This is simply a lie to the public, and SAFE continues the fight against the introduction of these new cage systems."

SAFE will make a submission to prevent the phase-out dates being pushed back and is urging the public to do the same.

Please address your submission to: [email protected]

Public consultation closes on 2 August 2013.