RSPCA condemns EU's new 'cruel conditions' for chickens

by 5m Editor
7 June 2005, at 12:00a.m.

UK - New EU rules on intensive chicken rearing were condemning the birds to cruel conditions, the RSPCA said yesterday. The charity says chickens bred for their meat will face even more cruel conditions than battery hens do. The charity said it was &quot;concerned and alarmed&quot; that proposed EU legislation published last week - the first in the history of farming to set standards for the welfare of all chickens bred for meat - misses an opportunity for real welfare improvements. The planned directive allows producers to allocate each chicken only 526sq cm or 0.566sq ft of space - a smaller surface area than an A4 sheet of paper. Even battery cages for laying hens provide more space, with the minimum legal requirement set at 550sq cm or 0.592sq ft. Dr Marc Cooper, RSPCA farm animals department scientific officer, said &quot;The amount of space chickens are given to move around in is one of the most important factors affecting their quality of life and urgently needs to be addressed. &quot;This EU legislation will do little to improve the lives of chickens in its current form. Surprisingly, the recommendation on the space required for each bird ignores the advice of the EU&#39;s own scientific advisory committee.&quot; <i>Source: icWales</I>

5m Editor