Battery hen ban a step in right direction

AMONG all the doom and gloom we read about these days, one small, but very welcome article, caught my attention today titled: "Sainsbury battery egg ban." Well done, Sainsbury, hopefully paving the way for other supermarkets to follow.

Just one supermarket banning this cruel practice means that more than half a million hens will no longer be kept in cages the size of A4 paper, never seeing daylight in conditions so appalling that some birds are de-beaked to stop them pecking at each other; wallowing in their own excrement in filthy sheds. It's a disgrace in this day and age.

The cruelty to animals in this country is appalling. Each year, over two million live animals - cattle, sheep, pigs and horses - are transported to the continent and beyond, in tightly packed transporters for journeys lasting from 30 to 90 hours, often without food and water, to be slaughtered in abattoirs which flout the rules. Thousands of live animals are exported and imported across the continent. It doesn't make sense.

Fox and deer hunting is still thriving, despite being illegal. Not only that, but hunters brag about the fact that they still carry on the tradition. Partridges and pheasants are bred in horrific conditions to be shot willy-nilly while other birds are protected. Why is this allowed?

Unnecessary testing is still carried out in laboratories, with experiments being repeated time and time again. Bearing in mind that rats do not have gall bladders, cannot vomit and live only for three years, researchers try to convince the public that they are good models for studying human disease. In one procedure, rats were electrtically shocked and injected with chemicals simply to record their cries and to assess the pain experienced!

So, thank you, Sainsbury, for one move in the right direction.

Thanks also to Compassion in World Farming, the charity that brings these horrors to the public's attention. DEFRA says the welfare of the animal is paramount: ask the animals.

Mrs Mags C Doherty, Worcester Drive, Sheffield S10.

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