AN animal rights group wants poultry cages banned.
And Holmfirth-based pressure group Farm Animal Welfare Network - Fawn - is urging people to oppose plans to introduce larger cages for battery hens.
Small cages for battery hens are to be outlawed throughout Europe in 2012.
But Fawn is opposed to the new "enriched" cages which are to be allowed. These have a perch, nesting box and litter to scratch - but the group argues they will still be only the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
The group is organising a protest to MPs.
Mrs Clare Druce, who runs the organisation said: "The battery cage, because of the extreme confinement it imposes on the birds, can only be extremely poor in terms of quality of life.
"The benefits of enriched or modified cages have been greatly exaggerated and laying hens will continue to suffer gross deprivation and stress. "We are acutely aware of the shortcomings of some alternative systems.
"But we stand by our claim that while free range barn systems often pose serious welfare problems they can, if well designed and managed, be satisfactory."
Fawn opposes cages because:
* Cages keep hens prisoners
* Hens develop brittle bones because of lack of exercise
* Welfare inspections will be made more difficult
* The behavioural needs of hens are not met.
Scientific research has noted that battery hens released from cages quickly revert to their instinctive behaviour of dust bathing, nest building, and foraging for food.
Fawn argues that the Government should maintain the UK's reputation for being a compassionate nation that cares about animal welfare.
For fact sheets and postcards pre-addressed to the House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, write to: Fawn at PO Box 40, Holmfirth, HD9 3YY, UK.