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MPs Show Support for Free Range Eggs

ROYAL NEW ZEALAND SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

For Immediate Release: 2nd October 2001

MPs Show Support for Free Range Eggs

Politicians might be a hard-boiled bunch, but some still prefer their eggs produced in humane conditions.

Amongst them are the ten MPs from across the political spectrum, who congregated on Parliament's steps today to receive more than 700 free range eggs from the Royal New Zealand SPCA.

The consignment of 120 cartons of six eggs each (one carton for every Member of the House) was delivered as part of the launch of the RNZSPCA's Free Range Egg Accreditation scheme.

The ten MPs receiving eggs on behalf of colleagues were the Hon. Jim Sutton and Chris Carter for Labour, Eric Roy, Alec Neill and Katherine Rich for National, Liz Gordon for the Alliance, Doug Woolerton for New Zealand First, Sue Kedgley and Ian Ewen-Street for the Greens and Peter Dunne for United Future New Zealand.

The presentation ceremony was followed by a series of egg and spoon races, on the grassed area in front of Parliament, with steady-handed parliamentarians vying for line honours with other prominent spoon-handlers.

"Our Free Range Egg Accreditation scheme marks a big step forward in our campaign against the cruelties of battery hen farming. It provides consumers with an absolute guarantee that eggs labelled as "free range" fit that description. All they'll have to do is look for the RNZSPCA approved logo on the carton," says the organisation's President, Peter Mason.

"Were absolutely delighted by the strong turn out of MPs today. Their presence is a sign of the growing concern New Zealanders feel over the fate of battery hens," he says.

According to RNZSPCA Chief Executive Peter Blomkamp, egg producers seeking to be part of the Free Range Egg Accreditation scheme must be willing to accept thorough and regular auditing. "The new scheme follows on the heels of our established accreditation scheme for 'barn eggs'. A key feature of both schemes is that they're not open to producers who run a mixture of cage free and battery hens.

"We aim to make sure that our logo isn't exploited by battery producers who just run a small number of cage free birds as a marketing ploy," he says.

Mr Blomkamp describes battery hen farming as an obscenity, with hens spending their lives crowded together in wire cages, with no room to exercise, preen or flap their wings.

"Hundreds of thousands of birds suffer from painfully damaged feet and claws as a result of this horrendous production system, whilst the de-beaking inflicted on battery hens can cause life-long pain," he adds.

For further information or comment, please contact:

Peter Mason President RNZSPCA 04 389 4609 025 461 680

Peter Blomkamp Chief Executive Officer RNZSPCA 09 827 6094 025 277 1961

Released by Ian Morrison, Matter of Fact Communications Phone: 09 575 3223, Fax: 09 575 3220, Email: matfact@ww.co.nz

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