Battery cages in EU declining, but still dominant
The proportion of hens housed in battery cages in Europe between 2008 and 2009 fell from 74.4 to 71.0%. Of the total number of hens, 29% were housed in alternative systems, according to market research by MEG.
Of the alternatively housed hens in 2009, 17.1% were placed in conventional free range stalls (14.3% in 2008). The percentage of total hens that also had an outside area was 9.2% of the entire EU hen population (8.9% in 2008).
The proportion of organically raised hens was 2.7% of all EU hens in 2009 (2.5% in 2008).
The share of alternative housing systems for laying hens varies widely between countries. This was 95% in Austria and 63% in Germany in 2009. Since the beginning of 2010, all German hens are housed in an alternative housing system. In South and Eastern European countries, by far the majority of laying hens are housed in battery cages.
Battery cages will be banned in Europe as from 2012.
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