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Why 2021 can be the year we free Aussie hens from battery cages

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Friday, 29 January 2021
Over 10 million layer hens – around one half of all layer hens in Australia – are still confined to battery cages. This outdated practice goes against both the science and the expectations of the community, and it must be brought to an end as soon as possible. 
For now, these tiny, cramped cages – in which hens only have the size of a sheet of A4 paper – are sadly all these hens know. For a hen to have a good life, she needs the freedom to move around, to stretch, flap her wings, perch and bathe in dust to keep her skin and feathers clean and healthy. She also needs to be able to lay her eggs in a nest. But she can’t do any of these things in a battery cage.  
But this year should be the year that finally changes. State and territory agriculture ministers have, for many years, been overseeing the drafting of new standards and guidelines for poultry – and that process is finally wrapping up in the first half of 2021.  
Where are we at? 
Here’s the story so far, from 2016 to the present... 
Of the overwhelming number of submissions received during the 2018 public consultation process – a record-breaking 167,000! – the vast majority agreed with a phase-out of battery cages. However,  the continued resistance  of the cage egg industry to change and the resulting stalemate meant state and territory governments agreed to appoint an independent panel of experts to oversee the finalisation of the standards and guidelines. That panel is now working hard to produce a final version of the standards in the coming months. 
Where to from here? 
Once the draft standards are released, we’ll need your help to support your state or territory government to take the right action, and implement a phase out.  For now, sign up to make sure you’re getting the latest news, and we’ll let you know when and how you can help.  
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