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No Reprieve for Suffering Chooks

by 5m Editor
4 July 2012, at 8:57am

NEW ZEALAND - The Minister for Primary Industries should reject any welfare code that allows hens to continue to suffer in cruel cages, Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers said.

Yahoo! News reports that the Minister is considering the new layer hen code of welfare which is widely understood to phase out battery cages but allow for colony cages instead.

Colony cages house the hens in larger groups with some basic enrichments such as a perch and a place to lay eggs.

"Colony systems just provide the same old suffering in new cages," said Ms Mathers.

"Producers will have to spend huge amounts of money on changing to these colony systems when instead they should be investing in changes that actually give a decent quality of life for these hens.

"Consumers are rightfully rejecting eggs produced in these cruel ways and so we should be working with our industries to help them innovate and make meaningful change.

"Instead of wasting resources tinkering at the edges of the current system, we should be looking at how we can become world leaders in all aspects of primary production including animal welfare.

"Most supermarkets in the UK have stopped selling any caged eggs and so there is no justification for still allowing the unnecessary suffering of so many animals in New Zealand.

"Forcing hens to live inside cages all of their lives when there are viable alternatives such as free range and barn systems is cruel and inhumane.

"I have asked the Minister to reject this code if it allows for the use of colony cages as they breach the Animal Welfare Act.

"The Act compels us all to ensure that animals are able to display normal patterns of behaviour but the only normal behaviour that chickens can display in colony cages are those of distressed animals.

"Banning battery cages but allowing colony ones is simply switching from one cruel cage system to another and no amount of spin from the Government can change that."