Ban Battery Cages in British Columbia
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What’s the first thing you see when you wake up?
What if it was a cage?
What if every single day you woke up, you saw a cage?
Would you enjoy that?
I know I wouldn’t, and I know the over two million egg laying hens in B.C. don’t enjoy it either. They also hate being crammed together in these cages with on average less space than a standard piece of printed paper (94 square inches). That tiny space is all they will ever have for their entire lives. They aren’t treated like living animals, they’re treated like machines. They aren’t given a proper place to lay their eggs, nor are anywhere to dustbathe or perch. These are natural behaviours that are important to them, and it is extremely stressful and uncomfortable when they cannot perform these behaviours. To make matters worse, instead of dustbathing, hens are often forced to bathe in urine and feces that fall from other hens in cages stacked above. The list of welfare risks and cruelties that these animals endure on a daily basis is endless, which is why it's up to us to call on the government to ban this cruel and dangerous practice.
Please sign this petition to urge Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and the B.C. Government to ban battery cages in our egg industry. This would not only benefit millions of neglected hens, but it would also drastically lower the risk of salmonella infection for B.C. citizens. A study by the European Food Safety Agency, which analyzed data from 5,000 egg farms in more than 20 countries found that eggs from battery caged hens were twenty-five times more likely to carry salmonella infection than uncaged free run hens!
Momentum is building in the cage-free movement. Major food chains such as Mcdonald’s, Subway, Tim Hortons and Burger King have committed to sourcing only cage-free eggs in the future. Major grocers such as Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys and Walmart Canada have done the same. Recently, the Egg Farmers of Canada have pledged to end the use of battery cages by 2036. This is a big step in the right direction, but the 2036 timeline is ridiculously drawn-out. If the B.C. government truly cares about the safety of B.C. citizens and B.C. farm animals it must lead by example and ban caged housing in our egg industry, allowing a far shorter timeline. This is simply the right thing to do.
- Ned Taylor
UPDATE: Like our Facebook page to enhance the fight for a cage-free BC: https://www.facebook.com/Cage-Free-BC-1840004186274923/
- Premier of British Columbia
- Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance
- Minister of Agriculture
- Minister of Health
- Interim Leader of the Official Opposition
- Leader of the BC Green Caucus
Dr. Andrew Weaver
- Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
We, the signers of the online petition to ban battery cages (and all other cages) in British Columbia would first off like to thank you for dedicating your time and effort to our province and country. We know that your job can come with a lot of work and stress, and we thank you for your continuous work for British Columbians and Canadians. We also know that you listen to issues that are important to people. Issues that are most important to us are involving animal welfare and food safety. Specifically this addresses the use of battery cages in our egg industry. According to the BC SPCA, about 95% of egg laying hens are living in battery cages. These are tiny wire cages that chickens live in their entire lives. They are not only damaging to the chickens physically, but mentally as well. Eggs from battery hens also have been shown to have serious health risks to consumers.
Battery cages have been used on animals for decades and in our view, it is shameful that this inhumane practice continues. When chickens are put in battery cages for their entire lives, they act extremely unusual. Since chickens often die because of the terrible conditions in these cages, it’s not uncommon to find them cannibalizing other chickens. Chickens are smart and social animals that are not usually found doing this when living in regular conditions. According to farm sanctuary, chickens are outperforming dogs and cats on many tests of advanced cognition. The emotional intelligence of chickens is outstanding and far better than we ever thought so.
But it’s not just chickens minds that are destroyed in these cages, it’s their bodies too. Chickens suffer feather loss and skin damage due to constant rubbing against the cage and other chickens. Their muscles and bones waste away due to lack of use. And in some cases, their skeletal systems become so weak that their spinal cords deteriorate and they become paralyzed; the animals then die from dehydration. This sad and awful situation is so common that the industry actually has a term for it, “cage fatigue”, and endless investigations show the remaining living birds forced to stand on the rotting, mummified bodies of their cage-mates.
And there are even more negative effects on the chickens living in these cages. Since each hen on average is given less space than a standard piece of printed paper (94 square inches), they are unable to stretch their wings or even walk around. They are also neglected of other natural behaviours such as nesting, perching and dust bathing. These are activities that are important to them. To make it even worse for these hens, instead of dust bathing, they are forced to bathe in urine and feces that fall onto them from the hens in cages stacked above. The list of reasons to end this form of farming go on and on.
Although in our view the welfare concerns to the animals is enough reasoning to ban this practice, there are serious health risks to consumers as well. A study by the European Food Safety Agency, which analyzed data from 5,000 egg farms in more than 20 countries found that eggs from battery caged hens were twenty-five times more likely to carry salmonella infection than uncaged free run hens!
British Columbia needs YOU to keep our animals and food safe. There is endless proof of the welfare concerns to these animals. Enough is enough. These animals need somewhere to at least walk around and spread their wings. The practice of battery caging is unnecessarily cruel to the animals and is drastically increasing the risk of salmonella among consumers. YOU can save millions of suffering hens in British Columbia and YOU can help save British Columbians from receiving a terrible infection. Please, for the sake of our animals and our people, do the right thing.
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