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What is the RSPCA's position on battery cages?
The RSPCA aims to make people aware that all animals must be treated humanely and compassionately. For many years, the RSPCA has been actively campaigning against housing hens in battery cages.
Following are just some of the reasons why the RSPCA will continue to lobby governments to ban the use of battery cages:
The overwhelming consensus among animal welfare experts is that the welfare of hens in battery cages is severely compromised. A detailed scientific European report makes a clear case against battery cages.
Battery cages do not allow hens to fulfil behavioural priorities, preferences and needs for nesting, perching, foraging and dust bathing in particular. These disadvantages outweigh the advantages of reduced parasitism, good hygiene and simpler management. The advantages can be matched by other systems that also enable a much fuller expression of normal behaviour.
The RSPCA established an Approved Farming Scheme for layer hens where producers can use the RSPCA logo on egg cartons only if they meet high welfare standards — this means eggs from hens housed in battery cages are excluded. The Approved Farming Scheme for layer hens is a win–win situation: the public can buy welfare-friendly eggs and producers can see it makes economic sense to improve the welfare of their hens.
Eggs labelled with the RSPCA logo are produced according to strict standards — much stricter than required by law. The RSPCA standards state that hens must be housed so they have access to perches, a nest in which to lay their eggs, litter in which to dust bathe and forage, environmental enrichment, sufficient space to move around freely, flap their wings, stretch, socialise and escape aggression. Hens must have constant access to good food and water and must be protected from predators and the elements.
To make sure these high welfare standards are being met, RSPCA Approved farms are assessed at least every 6 months by an experienced RSPCA assessor. View our layer hen standards here.
To learn more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme visit our website.
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