Britain's record on the welfare of laying hens has been branded shameful by the RSPCA as the government prepares to take what the charity calls only the minimum steps to phase out battery cages.
DEFRA has adopted legislation that will not ban battery cages before the 2012 deadline imposed by the EU.
The RSPCA had urged the government to follow Germany's lead in setting its own deadline of 2006, six years ahead of the phase-out date required under the EU Directive on Laying Hen Welfare. Other EU countries are in the process of considering banning the battery cage altogether.
A new MORI poll shows overwhelming public support for a ban on battery cages. The poll, commissioned by the RSPCA, reveals 86% of people think battery cage systems are cruel and 78% believe the government should ban the cages now as a priority.
The UK government, says the RSPCA, has not even adopted basic EU recommendations on minimum space.

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