History / Workers'
Rights / Environment / Human
Health / Agribusiness / Hens
/ Another Way
There is another way!
Other Countries' Recognition of the rights and welfare of hens:
Battery cages have been banned in Switzerland since 1992 - all hens
now have nests and perches.
The entire European Union (Member nations of the EU include the United
Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Ireland,
Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, and Sweden) has
passed laws declaring that no new battery cages may be installed after
2003 and that by 2013, all hens must have at least 750 sq. cm of floor
space, a perch, a nest and litter provide.
Other countries have adopted even stricter welfare guidelines banning
debeaking, battery cages, and forced molting practices. For instance, Germany
has decided to move much more quickly than the rest of the EU and has banned
battery cages from 2007 onwards, six years ahead of the standard. Germany
has also decided to go further than the new EU standards by banning "enriched
cages" as well, recognizing that these cages are not much more than glorified
battery cages that still deny the hens room to spread their wings and exercise.
(Enriched cages have slightly more space - about .65 sq. ft. per bird,
plus a nest box, perch, and litter).
In June, Germany became the first country in the European Union to enshrine
animal rights in its constitution (Non-EU Switzerland did so in 1992).
The United States government, however, has is no way recognized the
suffering of battery hens. To date, there are no federal wßelfare
laws in the United States regulating the care and treatment of laying hens.
(Davis, Karen, Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs, Summertown, TN:
Book Publishing Company, 1996, p. 77). Nor are there any federal
laws in the United States regulating poultry transport or slaughter (Prisoned
Chickens, Poisoned Eggs, p. 111).
Corporate Recognition of the welfare of hens:
Even corporations such as McDonaldís,
Burger King, and Wendy's, have recognized the welfare of hens and the
lack of national US welfare laws and have thus adopted their own guidelines
which include banning force-molting and restricting debeaking.
||The McDonald's Corporation announced on 22 August 2000 that the producers
that supply the company with 1.5 billion eggs each year will have to provide
50 percent more space for each caged hen, ban "forced molting," and to
restrict debeaking. The company agreed to implement a system of unannounced
audits for all suppliers and a "two strikes and you're out" policy for
suppliers that fail audits. (McDonald's
USA Animal Welfare Laying Hen Guidelines)
On June 28, 2001 Burger King announced that is will agree to do everything
McDonaldís was doing plus give three square inches more to laying hens
and require that the birds be able to stand fully upright. Additionally
Burger King will:
|Petition the USDA to enforce the Humane Slaughter Act, which goes almost
totally unenforced, resulting in animalsí routinely being still conscious
as their throats are slit open and their limbs are hacked off.
Begin implementing its standards in Canada immediately, with a pledge
to adopt them internationally.
Push the entire industry to continually improve farmed animal welfare
Issue an annual "Farmed Animal Welfare Report," detailing Burger King's
progress on farmed animal welfare issues.
||On September 6, 2001 Wendy's adopted similar welfare regulations
Does anyone in the U.S. care?
According to a 2000 Zogby poll in the United States, 86.2 percent of respondents
said it was unacceptable to confine egg-laying hens in battery cage conditions,
and 75.4 percent of respondents found forced-molting unacceptable.
As education about the conditions of egg-laying hens spreads, so
will opposition against battery cages!