ACT News

ACT battery cage and sow stall ban a 'message to rest of country'

The ACT Government has banned sow stalls and battery cages, in what it says is the most far-reaching legislation in the country.

The Liberals voted against the ban, deputy leader Alistair Coe saying it demonstrated that Labor's agenda had been hijacked by the extreme Greens.

The ACT Government has banned battery cages and sow stalls.
The ACT Government has banned battery cages and sow stalls. Photo: Graham Tidy

Given the ACT had no intensive pig farms nor battery egg farms, the bill was redundant, he said, asking whether the Government would next try to ban commercial whaling or nuclear power generation in the territory.

He dismissed the legislation as nothing more than Greens grandstanding.

The Labor Government supported Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury's legislation, which was part of his deal to become a minister in the Gallagher government, but no one from Labor spoke in Tuesday's debate.

Mr Rattenbury said it had been a long road to the ban and it sent an important message to the rest of the country.

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''To ban these elements of factory farming gives me great joy but I understand there is more to be done,'' he said. He had received complaints from people saying the legislation did not go far enough with other animal cruelty and factory farming practices in the ACT.

Nationally, about 70 per cent of laying hens, or 11,000 hens, were still kept in battery cages, in spaces often no bigger than a piece of A4 paper, with no room to stretch their wings, turn around, scratch, perch or show other natural behaviours. ''These are living feeling creatures capable of experiencing fear, pain and distress,'' he said. ''I find these statistics shocking.''

While there were no intensive piggeries in the ACT, sow stalls were used in piggeries just over the border. Sow stalls could drive pigs insane, resulting in pressure sores and lameness, he said.

His legislation also outlaws the practice of trimming or removing chickens' beaks, with fines of up to $7000 for an individual or $35,000 for a corporation for breaches.