Spring in the Garden

Spring in the Garden

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

How battery hen farming could become a thing of the past

Someone else is wishing we could eradicate battery farming altogether and is wondering about a campaign.

I had thought this blog would be a genteel, non-political affair, but even chickens can arouse a passionate desire for justice and compassion. There's more on commercial chicken farming on the Compassion in World Farming website.

Recently I'm questioning the wisdom of strident campaigns with negative messages, although sometimes it does seem like the only way to get a message across. I'd prefer a gentle, positive campaign, if it would work.

As consumers I think we need to remember two things.

Firstly we have a responsibility to be informed about things like the conditions people work in, the pay they receive and the way animals are treated to bring us the bargains and 'good value' we seek.

Secondly we have the power to bring about a change by buying products that are good value for everyone involved and have not caused poverty or suffering in their production.

After all if no one buys eggs from battery hens farmers will stop using that method of producing eggs.

On the other hand, farmers will only switch to keeping free-range hens if they can be sure there is a market for it as extra costs are involved, not to mention the initial outlay a change in farming methods will need.

If I can add a third thing, let's not forget the power we have to influence our friends by spreading the word in a positive, non-preachy fashion. (Hope I'm not sounding too preachy myself.)

Compassion in World Farming have a few more ideas.

The RSPCA website displays a list of products made with free range eggs.

When we first moved here, some miles from the Tesco supermarket we had been able to walk to, I made a monthly trip there to do a big shop. Now I avoid the place like the plague as I've heard so many bad things about the way they do business and their record on animal welfare. Of course, I realise not everyone can do this if they want to. Life is never that simple, but even if you have few shops to choose from and a limited budget there are still choices you can make for the better.

However, if you want to be sure your eggs come from happy hens you might need to keep your own, as this article suggests.


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I look forward to reading your comments, it's always good to hear encouraging words or relevant hints and tips.