Photo credits: ©Dyrenes Beskyttelse
25,000 Danish citizens have signed a petition launched by Dyrenes Beskyttelse, the Danish organisation for animal protection, to ban cages for hens. Until 1980 it was illegal to keep laying hens in cages in Denmark, and both animal advocates and citizens think the time is ripe to translate the will of citizens into law and reintroduce the ban on battery-caged eggs.
Laying hens kept in cages each have an area about the size of an A4 sheet plus a postcard to move around in, and no access to daylight. Rudimentary enrichment such as perches, a nest and a small area with bedding is far from enough to satisfy hens’ behavioural needs.
According to a study carried out by the polling agency Epinion for Dyrenes Beskyttelse, 6 out of 10 Danes agree that eggs from caged hens should be banned. Such a ban would bring Denmark in line with other European countries such as Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, all of which have introduced a similar ban.
“The Danes have spoken, and I think it’s time for politicians to listen to their voters,” says Britta Riis, Director of Dyrenes Beskyttelse. “It’s election year, and I hope our candidates will seize the opportunity to put this topic on the political agenda so that the pre-1980 ban can be reintroduced.”
Only a small number of manufacturers would be affected by such a ban. Although Danish egg production has been increasing for several years, the production of battery-caged eggs hasn’t followed the growing trend: only 1 out of 5 eggs comes from caged hens, which are bred by just 15 farmers with fewer than 60 employees.
Der er 15 buræg-producenter tilbage i Danmark, men de producerer over 20% af alle æg.
Tiden er inde til at få genindført forbuddet mod burhøns!
— Dyrenes Beskyttelse (@DyrBeskyt) April 12, 2019
“I think it is in everyone’s interest to set a fair end date for the production of caged eggs in Denmark, so that these few farmers have time to convert to more animal-friendly production,” says Britta Riis. “A voluntary reconversion is good and the power of consumers is strong, but legislation is also an effective tool. If the cruel and old-fashioned production of battery-caged eggs is banned once and for all, the process towards a Denmark free of cages will go faster.”