Suit Aims to Ease Confinement of Egg-Laying Hens

US - In an ongoing campaign to unfetter the caged hen, the Humane Society of the United States plans to file a lawsuit in California today challenging a partial sales tax break for agricultural producers who purchase cages that animal welfare activists consider cruel and torturous.

Humane Society officials contend in their suit, a draft of which was obtained by The Times, that the use of so-called "battery" cages to confine egg-laying hens to a floor area smaller than a sheet of 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper violates California's laws against animal cruelty.

"It's time for the state to stop subsidizing it," said Humane Society attorney Jonathan Lovvorn, who was scheduled to file the suit in Superior Court in San Francisco.

Caged hens are the latest in a line of factory farm animals to benefit from the growing movement to extend humane care to agricultural animals raised to be exploited or slaughtered.

In the last decade, beef slaughterhouses have adopted relatively kinder procedures, and some states have outlawed confining cages for farm animals such as pigs and calves.

As consumer consciousness has been raised about veal calves immobilized in crates and foie gras ducks force-fed with tubes down their throats, so the plight of the country's 300 million egg-laying hens - 95% of which can barely move in their cages - has come to the fore.

Source: LATimes
calendar icon 6 February 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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