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Tassie win on battery hens, sow stalls: federal action needed

Tasmania's move to ban battery hens and fast track a phase out of sow stalls should push the Gillard government to lead all Australian jurisdictions towards the same goal, says Australian Greens animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.

"Tasmania has set a fine example and now is the time for federal action to push for regulatory reform of factory farming in other state and territory jurisdictions," Senator Rhiannon said.

"An obvious first step is for the Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig to trigger an overdue review into the poultry 'Code of Practice' with a view to phasing out battery cages.

"I will be using Senate Estimates next week to ask why Minister Ludwig has failed to undertake the review of the poultry code which was due to be complete by 2010.

 "It has been over a decade since the poultry code was reviewed with the dismal 'gain' of cage sizes increasing by the equivalent of two match boxes.

 "Consumers' thirst for the reform of intensive meat, dairy and egg production, with an eye to ending cruel farming practices, is stronger than the federal government's.

 "Australia is dragging the chain internationally on animal welfare motivated regulatory reform. The EU has already moved to ban sow stalls, battery cages and veal crates.

 "The EU phased out battery cages at the start of this year and Switzerland, Norway and seven US states have banned them already.

"The cruel agricultural practice of confining pregnant pigs in tiny 'sow stalls' where they are unable to move was banned in countries like the UK over a decade ago.

"While the industry is committed to a voluntary phase out of sow stalls by 2017 this date is too far in the future and needs to be brought forward," Senator Rhiannon said.

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