Banning Battery Cages


A chara, - Next Monday the agriculture ministers of the EU's 15 member states, including Mr Joe Walsh, are due to decide whether or not to ban the battery cage for laying hens. This follows January's European Parliament vote to ban battery cages by the year 2009.

The animal welfare problems of battery cage egg production have been extensively documented. Hens in battery cages spend their entire productive lives deprived of fresh air, sunshine, exercise and freedom. They are unable to scratch at the ground, dust-bathe or build a nest. The cages are so small that even one hen could not fully stretch her wings and there are usually five hens in each cage.

A recent IMS/CIWF opinion poll found that 81 per cent of the Irish public believe the battery cage should be banned across the EU and 83 per cent are willing to pay more for eggs produced without caging hens. Similar polls in other EU states show that consumers believe that it is high time battery cages were consigned to the scrap-heap of history.

We are asking Joe Walsh to listen to the voice of the Irish people and win freedom for Europe's 250 million battery hens. In short, we are saying: "Don't chicken out, Minister. Ban the battery cage!". - Is mise, Aoife Ni Fhearghail,

Campaigns Officer, Compassion in World Farming, Ireland, Hanover Street, Cork.