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Outrage At Delay and Lies About Battery Cage Phase-out

Outrage At Delay and Lies About Battery Cage Phase-out

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has outraged animal activists by once again failing to look after the welfare of New Zealand’s three million battery hens. NAWAC is proposing to delay the phase-out of conventional battery hen cages by another two years. Consultation on the proposals closes today but SAFE believes that the process is farcical and that public opinion will be ignored.

“Battery hen cages have been in breach of New Zealand animal welfare legislation since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 (AWA). The AWA requires that animals must be able to express their normal behaviours and this is something that hens confined in battery hen cages clearly cannot do. The public have consistently made it clear they want cages gone, but NAWAC continues to drag its feet,” says SAFE Executive Director Hans Kriek.

After years of dithering, NAWAC decided in 2012 to phase out conventional cages over a ten-year time frame, ending 31 December 2022. Transitional steps were introduced to ensure that older cages would be phased out first. After industry complaints, NAWAC is now set to delay the transition dates by another two years. “This means that millions of battery hens will suffer even longer as a result,” says Mr Kriek.

“It is almost beyond comprehension that NAWAC, a committee supposedly set up to ensure good animal welfare standards, should let itself be bullied by the egg industry into allowing the ongoing use of a cruel cage system that is in breach of the AWA. By the time cages are finally phased out, the industry will have had 23 years of use of these cages despite their illegality.”

“NAWAC has failed to fairly balance the interests of a mere 45 battery egg farmers with the interests of their three million victims. By doing so, NAWAC has condemned another 30 million hens to a life of misery and suffering over the next decade.”

“Additionally, since introducing the phase-out, NAWAC has falsely claimed that it is banning battery cages, thereby misleading the public into believing that hens will finally be free from their miserable existence. Instead of banning battery cages, NAWAC is simply replacing them with another cruel cage system called colony cages,” says Mr Kriek. Colony cages are bigger but house more birds. Each hen has only slightly more space than an A4 sheet of paper. Colony cages still do not allow hens to express their normal behaviours as required by the AWA.

SAFE is now calling on NAWAC to issue an apology to the New Zealand public for allowing this disgraceful situation to continue, and for spreading misleading information.


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