Caged egg laying hens are among the most intensively confined animals in farming. More than nine million hens are confined in conventional battery cages in Australia, denied the ability to even flap their wings.
It’s time to #CanTheCage
Australia is in the dark ages (or should we say cages) when it comes to animal welfare for layer hens. As more cage-free commitments are promised around the world, it highlights just how outdated Australia’s animal welfare standards are for layer hens. More than 70% of OECD countries have phased out battery cages or are in the process of doing so while Australia still allows them and as a result, millions of hens suffer.
Battery cages are small wire confinements where multiple hens are kept. Each hen has only the space of about an A4 piece of paper, and they are confined to these cramped, dark quarters 24/7—no room to flap their wings, no sunlight and no place to perch.
Big players in the Australian egg industry are lobbying hard to keep these ‘conventional’ cages even as a growing number of countries around the world have moved on and left this cruelty in the past.
What HSI is doing
Our HSI Global team have been working to secure cage free policies from governments and food companies all over the world. More than 300 companies have already pledged to require better layer hen welfare including two of the world’s largest food service providers, Compass Group and Sodexo.
In Australia, HSI is calling for an end to battery cages, a reduction in stocking densities and a reclassification of the rules for the ‘free range’ egg label to be more in line with consumer expectations and international standards. This is the bare minimum our hens deserve. Battery cages have no place in modern farming.
The Federal Government recently convened an independent expert panel that recommended battery cages be phased out. We’re working with government and other animal welfare groups to get this legislation passed. This is long overdue, and we cannot allow cages to confine millions of Australian hens for decades to come. We must outlaw these awful cages as soon as possible.
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