Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



On June 15, 1999, the European Union (EU) passed a directive on the welfare of laying hens, requiring that battery cages (so called because they are arranged in batteries of rows and tiers) be phased out by 2012. Enriched laying cages (which may also be arranged in batteries but which provide increased area and height, when compared with conventional cages, and a perch, nest box, and litter area) will still be allowed. This chapter outlines how this directive came about, and the social, economic, and political issues involved. It considers prospects for the future, both within and outside the EU, and implications for welfare of laying hens in the United States.