New egg farming rules draw mixed reaction from animal rights groups

TORONTO – Fewer chickens could be living in cramped cages thanks to a new code of practice for Canadian egg farmers.

But not all animal rights groups are celebrating.

Many cages used right now are so small, hens can’t walk or spread their wings for their entire lives.

Goeff Urton with the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies says a plan to phase out those cages over the next 15 years is welcome news.

“It’s a huge step for animal welfare in Canada, and it’s probably the most significant animal welfare achievement, influencing the greatest number of animals, that Canada’s ever had,” he says.

Mercy For Animals meanwhile argues the National Farm Animal Care Council continues to condone cruel practices in its new code.

They note that “cage-free” is not the same as “free-range”, and does not guarantee the hens have access to the outdoors or natural sunlight.

Most hens lay about 320 eggs per year, about 16 times the natural laying cycle.

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