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EU ministers defend the battery cage ban

News Section Icon Published 23/02/2011

On 21 February 2011 at a meeting of the EU Agriculture Council, the majority of EU ministers rejected a postponement. The UK was amongst the governments who called for the ban to come into force on 1 January 2012 without delay.

Compassion particularly welcomes the support from the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Our Big Move campaign to defend the ban has seen over 20,000 supporters writing to Defra Minister Caroline Spelman to urge her to back the ban on time and in full.

Mrs Spelman emphasised that delaying the ban would be "enormously unfair to all the poultry keepers in the UK and other countries around Europe who have worked so hard to stop using battery cages."

Compassion fully agrees that we need to protect British farmers from imports of illegally-produced battery eggs once the EU ban on barren battery cages comes into force in 2012. Defra has previously suggested that this could be achieved by allowing such eggs to be sold in the country of production, but not exported. We believe this would completely undermine the ban.

If farmers in some countries are told that they can continue to sell their battery eggs, they will have little incentive to move away from battery cage systems. Therefore Compassion has officially requested a meeting with Mrs Spelman to clarify Defra's latest position on this important point.

Hélène O'Donnell, Campaign Project Manager said, "The outcome of this week's Council meeting is very encouraging for the millions of hens kept in barren battery cages across the EU, and bears testimony to the thousands of Compassion supporters who have already taken action to support the Big Move. But we cannot afford to become complacent. Some EU member states are still lobbying for a postponement of the ban, and so the campaign continues."

Take action

Poland may still make a formal postponement request to the EU. Please urge Polish ministers not to proceed with their plan to spoil the ban.


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