Foodies' paradise Tasmania burns battery-hen farming
18/05/2012 - Chickens were among a few big winners in the Tasmanian state budget. David Beniuk
In an Australian first, the island state will bolster its fast-growing reputation as a foodie's paradise by taking chicken farming free range.
Battery hen farming will become a thing of the past in Tasmania, with government funding to help see it off.
A $2.5 million initiative will help free battery hens from cages and fast-track a planned ban on sow stalls at piggeries.
Tasmania's Greens, who share power with Labor, are taking credit for the scheme.
"The Greens took into the budget negotiations a proposal to announce Tasmania's intention to become battery hen-free and provide a transition package," Greens leader Nick McKim said.
"There will be an immediate ban on any new battery farms or cages and a cap on the current hen stock introduced while the transition plan is finalised.
"This shifts Tasmania in the eyes of the nation and the world.
"We will be amongst the national and global leaders in banning battery hens and producing market-friendly eggs."
The RSPCA applauded the move.
"Animal welfare has finally been put first and that's a welcome shift in thinking - one we hope catches on in other states," chief executive Heather Neil said.
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