63 percent of Canadians support banning battery cages for egg-laying chickens, poll shows

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      Almost two-thirds of Canadians support banning the use of battery cages to house egg-laying chickens, a new poll shows.

      Across the country, 63 percent of Canadians would back a legislative ban on battery cages in their province, according to the telephone survey, conducted by Harris/Decima for the Vancouver Humane Society.

      Twenty-six percent of respondents said they would oppose such a ban, while 11 percent didn’t know where they stood or refused to offer an opinion.

      “British Columbians and women continue to be more strongly opposed to the use of battery cages, with 69% (respectively) indicating they would support their provinces making battery cages illegal,” the executive summary of the poll results, released today (December 28), states.

      The survey defines a battery cage as a wire cage used to house five to seven egg-laying chickens. It notes that battery cages are stacked two to eight cages high and are found on more than 90 percent of Canada’s egg farms. These farms hold an average of 17,000 hens each.

      Even more Canadians would agree with requiring cartons of battery-cage eggs to be labelled “eggs from caged hens”.

      The poll found 77-percent support nationally for mandatory labelling.

      Sixteen percent of Canadians would oppose “eggs from caged hens” labels.

      In terms of how Canadians feel about battery cages, 58 percent are against their use, 17 percent are in favour, and 24 percent have no opinion.

      Seventy-two percent of Canadians said they are willing to pay more for animal products “certified to humane standards of care” by a third-party group.

      When it comes to cage-free eggs, 54 percent of Canadians are willing to pay a higher price.

      The poll also found that 62 percent of Canadians believe farm animals are treated humanely in the process of producing food and other products.

      Harris/Decima surveyed 2,012 Canadians from December 3 to December 13. The poll’s national results are considered accurate plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

      The Vancouver Humane Society is an animal-welfare organization that runs a campaign to improve the quality of life for egg-laying hens.

      In response to a request from the society, the Metro Vancouver board of directors in February voted to send a letter to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency expressing opposition to the use of battery cages due to the “inherent cruelty of confining egg-laying hens” in them.

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.



      dr. didio

      Dec 29, 2009 at 5:11pm

      two seperate areas. just move them from one to the other and collect shit. Dont use water dear farmer. Let it compost and spray it down after all is scraped. Current production needs to use more space for healthy chickies.

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      Dec 30, 2009 at 10:29am

      It is sad that ONLY 63% of the population would ban the use of battery cages for chickens.
      The 11% that don't have an opinion don't know the realities of what actually goes on.
      The 26% that would oppose such a ban either don't have the knowledge of what's going on, or have no heart.

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      Egg Farmer.

      Jan 6, 2010 at 12:14pm

      As an Egg farmer who farms with conventional "cages" I'll tell you this, my birds are kept in very new, nice, large "cages" well beyond the regulations that i am governed by. They are kept in a building that is comfortable enough for you to walk around in a t-shirt in in the dead of canadian winter, the air quality is great, and it is cleaned and swept every week. They eat better food and drink cleaner water than 2/3 of the WORLDS population, and they produce clean and hygenic eggs... how do we know they are unhappy? they look happy to me. I know firsthand that if i give them more space, they cannibalize each other, and if i place them in free range they lay eggs in their own feces, eat their own feces, and even each other and their own eggs...... not to mention disease issues. With 30+ years experience ive seen dire conditions at "free range" farms as well. Egg farming has evolved this way for a reason and i agree that conditions on some farms are bad, and they need to change but it is not true for the majority. Biased results from a bureaucratic organization using shock tactics and peoples ignorance about farming to make money out of your sympathy....if someone is interested in this issue than they should look into it themselves, not rely on information from ANY organization, or PR campaign, or even me.

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      Informed Public

      Feb 27, 2010 at 4:09am

      Egg Farmer: the hens don't care if the cages are "nice" or "new". They're still cages and the hens don't have room to engage in normal activities. They can't dustbathe, roost, peck for bugs, stretch their wings in the sun, or build a nest. And if the cages are clean it's because the birds themselves in their barren quarters try desperately to keep them tidy.

      I agree the so-called "free range" hens suffer as well, cramped into huge sheds, hen to hen, some hen's butt always in your face no wonder they cannibalize each other. You would too if you were packed in that way. And you'd walk on your feces and lay eggs in your feces if you had to live in such a horrible place. You'd have no choice.

      Egg "farmers" aren't farmers at all. They're industrial factory managers, with zero compassion for animals, treating the birds who make them rich like production items, not creatures with needs and feelings.

      Egg "farmers" make me sick.

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