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Barren Battery Cage Chickens - This method now illegal in Europe but ignored by the majority of countries.
On the 1st January 2012 the EU barren battery cage for hens law came into force. ( Council Directive 1999/74/EC) This has taken over 40 years of campaigning to allow more than 250 million hens to live better and more comfortable lives.
It now means that barren battery cages are illegal throughout the whole of the European Union. Compassion in world Farming, of which I am a member, should be rightly proud of their contribution to achieving this result and it would be nice if we could celebrate a real victory.
However, as with many things in the EU certain member countries choose to totally ignore the laws and allow their farmers to carry on in the same old brutal ways all in the name of profit.
I think it is necessary that these countries are named and shamed and they are:
You may very well ask yourself what is the point in passing such laws when major countries such as this blatantly break them without any repercussions.
If you are not familiar with a barren battery cage they are so small that the hen cannot move around inside and cannot get away from the other occupants. They have no room to stretch or flap their wings and their eggs just drop into chutes. The cages are totally barren with no straw or bedding just a wire floor coated in droppings which eventually burn the bird’s feet. The disgraceful part is that these cages are still manufactured and sold in the offending countries. The chicken farmers in these countries cannot claim they needed time to put alternative arrangements into place as they had 10 years notice of the change in the law.
Compassion in world Farming intends to make an example of Spain (largest egg producer in the EU with 12 million hens in these cages) and is targeting Spain’s Agriculture Minister D. Miguel Arias Canete to force him to comply with the law. If you wish to join the protest please contact CIWF directly on their website.
Since this was first written, along with UK, Germany and Holland will comply with the ban, but the remaining countries complain they haven't had enough time and will ignore it. Please add your voice in protest via Compassion in World Farming and boycott eggs from the illegal countries.
The latest information is that most of the countries now officially comply with the regulations although it is still routinely ignored by many poultry farmers in several countries. However Greece completely ignores the ban and continues to keep the vast majority of their hens in these barren battery cages. Go to CiWF website and learn how to put pressure on the Greek Government.
Ex battery hens are quite freely available, are good natured and give plenty of tasty eggs. As a very young child I would sit in the hen house surrounded by sweet smelling hens who would snuggle down and keep me warm.
Chickens are without doubt one of the most abused farm animals.
The EU is probably one of the most toothless and corrupt organisations in existence, Britains exit from the EU is the best move we ever made and can't come soon enough. The idea that we pay vast sums of money to leave is utterly crazy, we owe them nothing and can exist better without them.
© 2012 Peter Geekie