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RSPCA Australia has welcomed the Independent Panel on Poultry Welfare’s draft recommendations to phase out battery cages for layer hens in Australia.

The draft recommendations were tabled in Parliament yesterday after the Senate agreed to order the production of the documents.

The Independent Panel’s recommendations will be presented to state and territory Agriculture Ministers once finalised, and if agreed to, will finally see battery cages phased out in Australia.

“We are pleased to see the Independent Panel has acted on the science,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence base shows that it is impossible to meet the welfare needs of hens in these small, barren wire cages.

“The community has also said loud and clear that they want to see a phase out of battery cages – over 167,000 people made submissions to the public consultation process for this review, the vast majority opposing the use of barren battery cages.

“We do, however, want to see the transition period considerably shortened. We understand that transitions take time, but every year the transition takes is another year that millions of smart, curious, social hens are confined to cages with less than an A4-sized sheet of paper in floor space.

“This year, state and territory Agriculture Ministers will finally have the chance to support the Independent Panel’s recommendations and end the use of battery cages in Australia.

“We call on all state and territory governments to act on the Independent Panel’s advice, the science, and community expectations, and implement a national phase out of battery cages.”

Over 75% of OECD countries have already acted to transition away from battery cages.

For more information on the welfare issues with battery cages, click here, and for a timeline of our work to end the use of battery cages, click here.

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