News 988 views update:Oct 16, 2009

US: New welfare law ordains hen cage sizes

In Michigan, the new law results from extensive negotiations between humane and agricultural groups. It requires that certain farm animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around and extend their limbs, rather than being confined in small cages.

Animal welfare groups, including the Michigan Humane Society, the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, applauded Governor Granholm for signing the bill and lawmakers, agricultural groups, and environmental groups for supporting the measure.

The bill bans veal crates for calves, battery cages for laying hens, and gestation crates for breeding sows.

Michigan has a large industry in laying hens, pig production and veal calves. Pig and layer hen farms will have 10 years to comply with the regulations, veal calf farms will have three years.

The regulations have dispensations for research, veterinary treatment, transportation, at rodeos and state fairs, and during slaughter. Also exempted are breeding sows within seven days of expected birth.

Related link:

Report: A Comparison of the Welfare of Hens in Battery Cages and Alternative Systems (pdf)

Source: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

Natalie Berkhout

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