Good news from Australia! In what it says is the most far-reaching legislation in the country, the ACT Government has banned sow stalls and battery cages. As an Australian I am proud that steps have been taken to protect some of the most abused animals in our country.
The ACT has become the first Australian jurisdiction to prohibit by law some of the worst cruelty inflicted on animals in current factory farming systems.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) more than 60 billion animals are used globally to produce meat, milk and eggs (FAO, 2006). This model of intensive farming systems has been increasing compared to traditional mixed farming systems (CIWF, 2009) and is predicted to continue to increase.
Hens are living lives of pain and suffering confined to wire cages, with five to seven other hens, laboring to produce eggs. Not only are they subjected to overcrowding and stressful conditions, but within days of being born, they can have the end of their beaks cut off.
Pigs, one of the smartest and cleanest animals, are being confined to concrete and metal crates. Mother pigs are confined in such small spaces that they cannot turn around. Did you know, while pigs often get a bad rap for being dirty, they are actually one of the cleanest animals and because they don't have sweat glands, they roll around in the mud to stay cool?
Some people have opposed the ban stating that the ACT have neither intensive pig farms nor battery egg farms, so the bill is redundant. I understand that there is a long way to go and so much more to be done, but banning these elements of factory farming gives me great pride and comfort knowing that a strong message has been sent to the rest of the country – that the unnecessary suffering of animals in farming will no longer be tolerated.