March 2. 2024. 3:46

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Slovak parliament pressured to make chicken farming cage-free


The National Council will look into banning cages for chickens and laying hens after investigation videos showing the animals’ welfare conditions in three Slovak farms made the rounds online.

Though countries like Austria, Czechia and Germany already ban the practice, and the European Commission has recently recommended making the ban EU-wide, Slovak NGOs and activists like Humane Progress do not want to wait.

“Starting today, Slovak men and women can finally see for themselves the horrible conditions under which cage eggs come from and what poultry farmers are trying to sell them as the supposedly best option for chickens,” said Humane Progress’ chairman, Martin Smrek.

To make the ban a reality, OĽaNO MP Tomáš Šudík, with the support of Humane Progress, has presented a bill that aims to ban cage breeding by 2029, giving poultry farmers five years to switch to alternative breeding.

It remains unclear, however, whether Šudík has enough support for the bill.

On the side of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), National Council member Jarmila Halgašová said she is sceptical about the five-year transition period being sufficient and pointed to egg prices rising after the ban as stores will favour selling imported eggs over Slovak ones.

Activists have a completely opposite view.

According to them, retail chains are already losing interest in selling cage-bred eggs due to public pressure, with most of them committed to taking them off the shelves for good by 2025.

“In practice, this means that from 2025 there will be no interest in caged eggs on the Slovak market. This will create a huge hole between supply and demand,” said Smrek.

(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)