Christians urged to buy free range chicken, help end battery farming

A European Commission refusal to delay a ban on battery cages has been welcomed by the Christian Peoples Alliance party, which is urging Christians to begin changing their buying habits by choosing free range poultry.

A Commission report says the ban on keeping laying hens in tiny cages should come into effect in 2012 as planned, despite calls from farmers for more time to prepare.

Spokeswoman for the CPA, Sue May said: "If anything, 2012 is still a long-time to wait for an end to the appalling cruelty of battery farming. Any delay would have been an outrage to human decency.

"Now the facts are getting known, it would be great if Christians everywhere took a lead in buying more ethically and choosing free-range chickens and eggs. Collectively, we could make a huge difference.

"The Bible is emphatically on the side of animal welfare and the requirement to show respect towards all of God's creation."

According to official figures, 62 per cent of the UK's 29 million laying hens are kept in battery cages, while 34 per cent are free range and 4 per cent are kept in barn systems.

Across 27 EU countries, an estimated 200 million hens are kept in cages which confine them to a space barely big enough to turn around.
They cannot spread their wings, peck, scratch or perch.

Ms May added: "Channel Four's Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are doing a public service in highlighting the appalling conditions in which chickens are intensively raised. Consumers cannot say they didn't know. "

Marks & Spencer and Waitrose have already stopped selling eggs from
caged hens, and Sainsbury's, Morrisons and the Co-op have announced
plans to phase out the sale of battery eggs.