Letter: Healthy housing for happy hens

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The Independent Online
Sir: I refer to the RSPCA call for the phasing out of battery hen farming, and your leading article 'Let the consumer lead the way on battery eggs' (13 June). I have kept laying hens on free range, on deep-litter / barn systems, and in battery cages. Hens in small colonies of four or five birds in cages show less aggression than those in other systems, and they are not subject to the intense fear caused by low-flying aircraft, hot-air balloons, etc.

Your leading article refers to 'apparently cruel conditions' in cages. Quite right, they are only apparently cruel. It is the hens allowed to roam freely that need the chemicals and antibiotics to maintain health, not the caged hen, which has no access to its own manure. I know, having had them roaming in the past.

The public already complains of the unsightly free-range pig units: large free-range poultry units are worse.

Yours faithfully,




13 June

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