note that the two letters you printed recently about the business of the hens kept by a convent were both critical of the nuns. I think you should let the other side of the case be seen. 1 have some experience of battery hens, and when the units are well run there is nothing for the animal lobby to fuss about. There is now no practical alternative to this form of chicken keeping on a big scale, unless there is to be a very great increase in the price of eggs and chicken.
Resumably the animal lobby people will want to have a go at something, so why do they not interest themselves in the widespread keeping of canaries in small cages, goldfish in little bowls and dogs in small flats. I appreciate that it would not be conventionally "radical" or trendy, but it would be very much more convincing to those who have wide experience of animals in both town and country.
Charles Thomas Salisbury, Wiltshire.
Although the infliction of cruelty is doubly distressing when practised by religious people, the fact remains that the battery system is within the law of Britain, Europe and Scandinavia — with the exception of Denmark.
Conditions at the Daventry convent were probably no worse than in farms large and small, up and down this country. Agricultural colleges, sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, recommend this system.
Two reforms are urgently necessary:
I. Legislation world-wide, to prohibit the use of battery cages for hens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, pigs or any other creature. Christians of all denominations should protest to members of Parliament and Mr John Silkin, Minister for Agriculture, demanding a ban throughout the EEC.
2. Revision of the Catholic Dictionary, which permits the indiscriminate use of animals for food, research and amusement on the grounds that they have no souls. Your correspondent, E. Ryan (July 28) may know that the majority of Anglican clergy are also indifferent to animal suffering and "don't want to know." But "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, ye have done it unto ME."
Mary Beaumont Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals Rolvenden,