Swedish Battery Hen Ban in Danger!

In 1988, the Swedish Parliament voted to prohibit keeping hens for egg production in cages, with a 10 year phase-out. The ban is to become effective on January 1, 1999. However, it is being threatened by heavy lobbying from battery hen egg producers and the fact that they have refused to make plans to change to a non-cage system. At most, only 15% of Swedish egg laying hens are in non-caged housing.

While the new Swedish Minister of Agriculture, Annika Ahnberg, had a record of animal welfare initiatives when she was a member of Parliament, she now is weakening in favor of a "modified cage" and postponement of the ban. This would be a disaster not only for Swedish hens and the Swedish animal protection movement, but for the United States and the world, as we look to Sweden to set standards for our own campaigns to outlaw battery cages.

Battery cages must be banned. As Dr. Lesley Rogers states in The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken (1995) "In no way can these living conditions meet the demands of a complex nervous system designed to form a multitude of memories and to make complex decisions."

What Can I Do?

  • Contact Mrs. Annika Ahnberg, Minister of Agriculture, Jordbruksdepartementet, 103 33 Stockholm, Sweden (fax: 011 468 20 64 96; E-mail: or
    Demand that
    1. the battery cage ban must be enforced.
    2. modified cages are not an acceptable alternative to conventional cages and must not be permitted.
    3. Sweden must stand by the decision of Parliament in 1988. Otherwise, the impact of Sweden's supposedly high animal welfare standards in policy-making on animal welfare issues in international politics will be lost.
  • Send your comments also to Mr. Olaf Huldtgren, The Commerce Dept., Swedish Embassy, 1501 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 (ph: 202-467-2600; fax: 2699).

For more information, contact the Swedish Society Against Painful Experiments on Animals, Box 2005, S-125 02 Alvsjo, Sweden (ph: 011 468 749 20 40; fax: 011 468 749 20 02).