Increase in demand for cage-free eggs set to continue
The increase in demand for cage-free eggs is set to continue according to animal rights organisation SAFE, who says the egg industry should expect this and prepare.
The 2012 ban on battery cages, which comes into force in 2022, and the subsequent transition to colony cage systems has resulted in a recent decline of the national flock of ‘layer’ hens according to industry insiders. The Egg Producers Federation says the decision to phase out cage eggs in supermarkets could lead to egg shortages.
SAFE Head of Campaigns Marianne Macdonald says international trends and demands from local customers have been clear, and the shift to cage-free eggs should have been predicted.
"The writing is on the wall for cage eggs, and it has been for some time," says Ms Macdonald.
"Switzerland abolished all cage egg systems in 1992. California and Michigan have both passed laws banning the caging of hens, and the equivalent of colony cages are set to be phased out by 2020 in Austria and 2024 in Belgium."
"The shift away from cage eggs is global and is not just confined to New Zealand where the majority of people are against the cruel confinement of hens."
"Caring Kiwis want an end to cage egg cruelty, and they’ve made this clear to the businesses they want to support."
All of New Zealand’s major supermarkets have announced policies to phase out cage eggs, as well as major wholesalers Bidfood and Service Foods.
"Horizon research polls show three in four New Zealanders support a phase out of cage eggs. If the egg industry is predicting shortages in supply, then they have not been paying attention or responding to global trends, or the demands from New Zealand customers for cage-free eggs." says Ms Macdonald.