In 2012, European laws will be implemented to make the battery farming of hens illegal. With over 16 million hens currently in battery farms in UK and around 225 million in Europe, this will lead to environmental and economic implications worldwide. What is to come of the 16 million UK hens in 2012 is unclear, but one thing is certain, there will be a lot of ex-battery hens needing to be re-homed. There has always been a need to re-home ex-battery farm hens; once they are a year old they face ‘retirement’ as they are deemed unproductive by the battery farmers, even when most hens can potentially live for another four years.
Many people in the UK can play a part, and unlike many environmental issues it’s one where we can all act directly. A rescue hen costs only £3 and will provide free-range eggs for around four years. The British Hen Welfare Trust, the largest UK group who rescue and re-home hens, have a refreshing attitude in the world of animal rights – they try to work with the battery farmers, rather than fighting them.
Words and photographs by Ed Thompson