Victory! The UK is finally free of cruel barren battery cages.
Last year the European Union (EU) banned the use of these tiny battery cages for hens, with EU member countries required to use “enriched” cages instead. The UK was one of 14 EU countries not to comply with this ban – until this week.
We want to say a big “Thank You” to the more than 4,500 Care2 activists who signed our petition asking British egg producers to stop using these cages.
From The Daily Mail:
More than 24 million egg-laying birds are kept in battery cages in the UK at any one time, producing 72 per cent of the country’s supplies.
Each wire cage allows 450sq cm – less space than an A4 sheet of paper – per bird. From 18 weeks of age she will remain for a year and will produce around 300 eggs.
The birds are routinely given medicated food to curtail the spread of disease in the cramped and hot conditions. There will routinely be four or five birds to a cage, but the conditions prevent normal behaviour, such as nest building, flapping wings, dust-bathing and perching.
At the end of their lives, the often emaciated birds are only fit only to be used in food processing.
Hens Will Now Live In “Enriched” Cages
The ban on these cages means that egg producers will replace them with so-called “enriched” cages; a bigger space, plus a nest box, a higher roof, some litter in a scratching area and a perch, about three inches from the bottom of the cage.
That still sounds excruciatingly small, but this is one step forward.
The European Commission has begun proceedings against the other 13 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
Of course, you can also make sure the eggs and the products with eggs in them that you buy are from non-cage systems. Why not buy eggs from organic, free-range hens?
Photo Credit: foogooky2