Defend the big move
In 1999, the European Union (EU) passed the Laying Hens Directive, which laid down minimum standards for the treatment of egg-laying hens across the EU. From 1 January 2012, the use of barren battery cages in the EU, and the sale of EU eggs from those cages, will be illegal.
A potential threat to the ban
The egg industry has been given a generous 12 years to prepare for the ban. Now, with just one year to go until the ban comes into force, some egg producers across Europe are claiming that they still cannot be ready in time, and are requesting more time to comply with the new legislation.
What could this mean for hens?
This delay would mean egg-laying hens continuing to suffer in cramped, barren battery cages where they are denied recognition of their most basic behavioural needs – scratching for food, laying eggs in a nest, roosting, dustbathing, and even stretching their wings.