New Bill to prohibit battery cages and sow stalls
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, today presented a bill to prohibit the use of battery cages for commercial egg production and the use of sow stalls and farrowing crates to keep pigs in the ACT.
"The ACT will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to legislate against factory farming, in a move that has been championed by the ACT Greens since 1997," said Mr Rattenbury.
"This Parliamentary Agreement item will be the fifth bill by the ACT Greens in relation to factory farming and I am proud that this has come to fruition at long last.
"With the passage of the Animal Welfare (Factory Farming) Amendment Bill, hens can no longer be kept in inhumane battery cages which prevent them from stretching, perching, laying eggs in a nest and exhibiting other natural behaviour," Mr Rattenbury said.
"The Bill will also prohibit the debeaking of hens, a common practice in the factory farming industry where the hen's beak is removed with a hot blade or laser. Not only is this process painful and inhumane, but it can also lead to other health complications which make it painful for the bird to eat.
"The Bill also prevents sows from being kept in stalls or farrowing crates where they cannot stand up, turn around and simply do not have the space they need to engage in natural pig behaviour. While we do not currently have any sow stalls in the ACT, this legislation will not only prevent their introduction but set a precedent for other states to introduce similar legislation.
"Not only is factory farming cruel, but intensive confinement of animals also fails to meet the public's expectations for humanely-produced egg and pork products.
"This bill introduces a maximum penalty for a prosecution for battery cage farming and keeping a pig in less than appropriate accommodation is 50 penalty units (currently $7,000 for an individual or $35,000 for a corporation)."
Mr Rattenbury said it is time for the ACT to take a stand against the horrific conditions to which factory farmed animals are subjected and become the first jurisdiction in Australia to outlaw these inhumane practices.
"Taking these steps will help protect the welfare of farmed animals and will set the precedent for other states and territories to do the same.
"The ACT Government has already gone some way to ban the use of battery cage farming by entering into an agreement with the ACT's only battery cage operator, Pace Farm, last year. Pace Farm agreed to convert its operations from a battery cage system by 15 May 2016 and the Bill will honour that agreement.
"This bill is an important step forward to not only end the practice of battery cage farming and debeaking in the ACT, but to also ensure we don't see the intensive confinement of pigs, and the time to do that is now," Mr Rattenbury concluded.
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