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Battery hen farms face legal action

European health commissioner says he will ban sales of eggs from businesses still ignoring 12-year ban

FRENCH farmers are to face a European Union crack-down after ignoring a law outlawing battery hen farms.

Farmers have had 12 years to comply with the law, which was introduced in 1999, and European health commissioner John Dalli said that after the deadline passed on December 31 there would be "zero tolerance" for those who did not respect it.

Legal action will be taken in the next few days to ban battery hen farmers from selling eggs to shops and supermarkets or for export.

The law said that hens should either live in the open or in new "humane" cages, which have to be at least 750 sq.cm. Battery hens live in cages which do not allow them to turn, to preen or flap their wings - the cages are often not much bigger than themselves.

In all, 14 countries have been warned that their farmers will face action and 23% of total EU egg production could be affected - up to 51 million hens.

Photo: Ethelred/Wikimedia Commons

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