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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Dalai Lama joins campaign against battery hens

September 3, 2010

Agence France-Presse (AFP)
September 1, 2010

NEW DELHI, India -- The Dalai Lama has condemned battery hen farming
and is urging consumers to switch to buying eggs from chickens kept
outside of cages, a statement said Wednesday.

"Turning these defenseless animals into egg-producing machines with
no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our
own humanity," the Buddhist spiritual leader said.

"Switching to cage-free eggs would reduce the suffering of these
animals," the Dalai Lama said in the statement issued in support of a
campaign against battery hen farming by Humane Society International.

Most caged birds have less than the size of an A4 sheet of paper as
their living space, noted the Dalai Lama who fled to India in 1959
after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet.

"The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing
to me and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these
animals are treated in industrial food production," he said.

The Dalai Lama's statement comes as animal rights campaigners around
the world have been pushing for an end to factory egg farming.

Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Norway have already banned
battery hen cages. European Union countries are phasing them out and
there will be a total ban on the farming practice by 2012.

Cage-free does not always mean "cruelty-free" but cage-free hens
generally have 250 percent to 300 percent more space per bird and are
able to act more naturally than caged hens, said a Humane Society spokesman.

India's factory farms confine 140 to 200 million hens in battery
cages, according to Humane Society estimates, and there is little
"cage-free farming."
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