Europe To Improve Welfare Of Battery Chickens

15 February 2006
The European Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) voted to improve theliving conditions and hygiene standards of chickens kept for meat production.

The Parliament also voted to improve the labelling of chicken on salein shops and limit the import of meat from chickens kept in poorconditions outside the EU.

The moves were supported by Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smithand go further than the European Commission had originally proposed.

Speaking after the vote in Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"The measures we have agreed today should not only improve thewelfare of chickens kept in battery conditions, but also improve thequality of chicken on sale in the shops and the information availableto consumers.

"Recent scares about animal hygiene, concern about the effects ofbattery farming and a growing interest in the food we eat have beentaken on board by the European Parliament and this legislation is abalanced reaction to that.

"Consumers will be able to have greater trust in the product they getat the supermarket and chicken should be much healthier. Its notperfect, but its an improvement on what we've got in some parts ofEurope at present.

"I'm sure most chicken farming in Scotland already lives up to thesestandards, now the rest of Europe will have to as well.

"Under the new rules the number of chickens in an area, thetemperature and light conditions, feeding, noise levels andcleanliness are all subject to increased minimum standards.

Mr Smith also highlighted the improved information for consumers,

"This legislation will improve labelling in shops. Not only shouldconsumers be told where the meat came from but now they will be toldhow old the chicken was and how it was kept."