A bill passed by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Labor government recently has outlawed battery cages and sow stalls which is a definite win for animal rights activists and animals everywhere. This piece of legislation reinforces the notion that factory farming practices are on the way out and higher standards of food production are becoming increasingly popular.
For the case of sow stalls, pigs who are pregnant or just after giving birth, are usually kept in stalls so narrow that they can barely turn around and stand up. Furthermore, they are kept isolated from other pigs and have no real comfortable place to lie down. This generally drives pigs to insanity and physical lameness. The legislation implies that the accommodation for pigs must be appropriately sized, clean, be provided access to outside and to be able to socialise with other pigs.
Other points covered in the legislation by Rattenbury includes outlawing trimming or removing chickens beaks. Hens have numerous nerve endings in their beak and snipping off the tip of is akin to having your fingertips removed! It is extremely painful. People who breach this law are liable to be faced with $7000 fines or $35,000 for businesses.
Skeptics may claim that passing the bill was a complete waste of time since no battery cage chicken farming and sow stalls exists in the ACT. But we do not believe it is all poppycock. In fact, this sets a precedence that the ACT does not condone the practice of farming animals in horrific conditions. Not now, not ever. Rattenbury emphasised that “You can still produce eggs and port in the ACT but you to do it in a way that is humane.” He further adds that he is ever hopeful that other states will follow suit. We have to agree with you there, Rattenbury!
According to the Greens Minister, Shane Rattenbury, 70 per cent of hens (11, 000 hens) nationally are predominately confined in battery cages throughout their lives. These conditions are absolutely unbearable and these poor chickens have barely any room to move in these cages. This usually leads to excess weigh loss, feather plucking and other painful lesions. Their life expectancy is extremely cut short.