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Thursday, January 15, 1998 Published at 06:49 GMT



UK

Britain calls for EU ban on battery hens
image: [ Elliot Morley wants a complete ban on the use of battery cages ]
Elliot Morley wants a complete ban on the use of battery cages

The United Kingdom has begun a campaign to persuade the 15 nations in the European Union to ban battery cages for hens.

The Animal Welfare Minister, Elliot Morley, is calling for severe penalties to enforce EU legislation outlawing farmyard cruelty.


[ image: Britain first raised the issue in 1992]
Britain first raised the issue in 1992
He is telling Euro MPs in Strasbourg on Thursday that the UK will use its presidency of the union to push for high standards on farms.

Besides battery hens, Mr Morley is particularly concerned with conditions for animals about to be killed.

Also, he wants new measures to lay down standards for what he calls "welfare at slaughter."

These would include minimum currents for electric stunning equipment and agreements on concentrations of gas to minimise animal suffering.


[ image: Chickens are often kept in cramped conditions]
Chickens are often kept in cramped conditions
The UK first put forward proposals on animal welfare during its last EU presidency in 1992.

But the initiative stagnated and has not been debated since 1994.

Regulations protect conditions for pigs and calves on farms but other animals are not covered by European law.

The EU also currently prescribes minimum cage sizes for battery hens.






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