January 1, 2012 rang in a new era for egg-laying hens in the European Union, as a ban on battery cages took effect in all 27 member nations. John Dalli, the EU health commissioner, has issued legal warnings to 13 countries over their lack of readiness or effort to enforce the ban, which passed by a two-thirds majority in 1999. At the time that the ban was ratified, 93 percent of EU eggs came from hens in battery cages. The floor area of a typical battery cage is 450 square centimeters, and egg producers must now supply hens with at least 800 square centimeters.
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