With battery cages being outlawed in Germany, the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) estimates that approximately 50% of German layer flocks will be housed in barn or free-range systems by 2009.
It is expected that the remainder of poultry flocks will be kept in small group systems.
Producers still using battery cages at the end of 2006 needed to sign a declaration committing them to convert to alternative systems within the next two years.
According to the DBV, half of the current battery producers plan to switch to barn or free-range egg production, and the remainder to small group systems. More than 30% of Germany’s national flock is already in barn or free-range systems.
The DBV has made a note of saying that German consumers must play their part by buying German eggs. “Ultimately, the consumer will decide whether a sustainable and animal welfare friendly livestock sector can remain and grow in Germany, or whether production will be forced to move abroad.”