Move to ban battery hens

AUSTRALIA - The Act will become the first Australian state or territory to ban battery egg production if new laws being drafted by the ACT Greens are adopted by the Assembly next month.
calendar icon 16 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Senior government sources have also told The Canberra Times negotiations are under way to buy out the ACT's sole battery-egg production plant in west Belconnen and acquire the land for urban development. The sources claim the buy-out is partly motivated by fears a possible outbreak of avian influenza at the plant could affect land values for the adjacent suburb of West Macgregor.

They claim there are concerns environmental issues associated with battery-egg production could undermine the Government's plans to list the ACT as a UNESCO Urban Biosphere Reserve.

The battery-egg production plant Parkwood Eggs has been a target for animal welfare protests for more than a decade, with Free Range Canberra candidates standing in the 2004 ACT elections calling for a ban on the production and sale of battery eggs.

Greens MLA Dr Deb Foskey is overseeing final stages of a draft Bill to amend the ACT's Animal Welfare Act to introduce a ban on keeping hens in battery cages, for both egg and poultry carcass production. If adopted, it would make the ACT a national leader in animal welfare reform, following the example of countries such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland. British supermarket chain Sainsbury's announced a ban on battery eggs in its stores last month.

The ACT Government passed laws in 1997 banning production and sale of battery eggs but the agreement of all state and territory governments was required. This was not obtained because of concerns raised by a Productivity Commission report on the economic costs and trade advantage implications of the ban.

Source: Canberra

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