Great news for caged hens - Poland's attempt to delay the Europe-wide ban on barren battery cages failed at a meeting of EU Council of Agriculture Ministers on February 22 2010.
Conventional battery cages, in which millions of egg-laying hens are confined, are due to be banned throughout the European Union in 2012. Compassion in World Farming totally opposes any postponement of the ban and believes a 12 year phase out, agreed in 1999, is ample time for farmers to move to higher welfare systems.
The Polish government proposed that the ban should be postponed because many of their farmers are still keeping hens in cages.
As soon as we heard about the plan, we emailed our supporters in the UK and Europe, urging them to ask their Agriculture Ministers not to postpone of the ban.
In the UK alone, over 10,000 Compassion in World Farming supporters sent emails to Defra, urging Minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP to stay firmly opposed to any postponement of the ban.
The Polish proposal was considered by the EU Agriculture Ministers at their meeting on 22 February 2010 and we understand that it received no support from the other Ministers.
Compassion is grateful to the thousands who took urgent action to see that the cage ban was not postponed. However, the Polish action may not be the last attempt to delay or weaken the ban. As Chief Executive Philip Lymbery says: "This underscores the need to be vigilant and the threats that remain, even when victories have been gained. Whatever the challenge, Compassion will continue to take decisive action until the day that battery cages are finally banned."
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