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Battery hen cages to be phased out from today

Friday 7 Dec 2012 6:32 a.m.

From today, no new battery cages will be allowed in New Zealand  (file)

From today, no new battery cages will be allowed in New Zealand (file)

Battery cages for egg-laying hens are to be phased out over the next decade.

Primary Industries Minister David Carter says from today, no new battery cages will be allowed in New Zealand, and by 2022, all egg farms will have to use larger colony cages.

The move follows legislation in the European Union, where standard battery hen cages have already been banned.

Mr Carter says Kiwis do not like small cages for chickens, and the new regulations will be a substantial improvement, with new cages featuring improvements like perches and a scratching mat.

“They allow the hens to display normal behaviour of nesting, of perching, and of scratching,” he says.

It is estimated the upgrade will cost egg farmers around $150 million, and consumer price hikes of up to 15 percent are likely.

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