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Taiwan protesters call for an end to battery hens

Cage-free eggs should become the norm in 2030

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Animal rights activists illustrate the fate of battery hens by standing on an A4 page in Taipei Saturday. 

Animal rights activists illustrate the fate of battery hens by standing on an A4 page in Taipei Saturday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Activists went to stand on a patch the size of an A4 page to illustrate the life of battery hens in a protest outside the Presidential Office Building in Taipei Saturday (Dec. 2).

About 100 animal rights supporters showed up on Ketagalan Boulevard to demand the nation’s poultry business move away from battery hens to cage-free chickens by 2030, per CNA.

In addition to having the protesters stand still, the Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) also broadcast the sound of chickens to show how the animals had to spend their whole existence just in one confined space, their only occupation reduced to laying eggs. The birds were never allowed to lead a natural life, the organizers said.

According to EAST, 80% of Taiwan’s chickens were still being raised as battery hens. As a result, the birds were weak, making them easy prey for outbreaks of diseases like the bird flu, The egg shortage earlier in 2023 was one of the consequences of the policy, the activists said.

The lack of hygiene of battery farms caused environmental pollution and provoked protests from nearby residents, who did not want a poultry farm in their neighborhood.

The government issued a policy in favor of free-range chickens in 2014, but the rules were not binding, EAST said. At the Taipei protest, the group showed a list of more than 10,000 signatures of people supporting its aims.