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New Welfare Code for Poultry Expected Soon

26 June 2012

NEW ZEALAND - A new animal welfare code for layer hens is expected to be introduced shortly.

According to Radio New Zealand, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) says it has finalised the code and will send it to the Government for approval by the end of the week.

NAWAC chair Dr John Hellstrom says the new code would rule out the use of battery cages, but would not specify the timing.

Dr Hellstrom says larger colony cages, which allow hens to stand and flap their wings, would be an alternative along with free range and barn-style systems.

On Monday, 25 June, activists were removed by police from New Zealand's largest egg farm, Mainland Poultry near Dunedin, where they were protesting the use of cages to house chickens, a method used by 90% of the country's egg producers.

Egg producers say the cost of the switch to colony cages will cost the industry more than $150 million.

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