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‘End Of The Cage Age’ A Concerning Misnomer

SAFE is calling on the Government to put an end to all caged-hen farming in New Zealand, warning that without such action, the country will be left behind on global animal welfare standards.

In recent weeks, the media has been abuzz with discussion around the demise of the ‘cage age’ for egg production in New Zealand.

However, while it is the case that legislation made in 2012 - which promised to phase-out battery caged-egg production - will come into effect by the end of the year, colony cages will remain legal.

SAFE Head of Campaigns, Jessica Chambers, said the lack of understanding around colony cages was concerning, but not unexpected.

"New Zealanders are being misled by the egg industries use of the term 'colony laid' - a label placed on egg products which come from hens confined in cages almost indistinguishable from battery cages".

"It's important people know colony cages are barely an improvement on battery cages - both of which breach the Animal Welfare Act by severely restricting a hen's ability to display normal patterns of behaviour. This discussion around the caging of hens coming to an end is hopeful, but incorrect."

"In Aotearoa, we’re phasing out an overcrowded cage only for them to be replaced by another overcrowded cage, while overseas all forms of caged hen farming are being banned," said Chambers.

A recent Colmar Brunton poll found over three-quarters of New Zealanders support a ban on the caging of hens. All major supermarkets in Aotearoa will phase out the sale of cage eggs from as early as 2024.

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"With 76% of kiwis opposed to the caging of hens and leading supermarkets removing cage eggs from their supply chains, legislation in Aotearoa is falling behind."

"Banning battery cages and allowing colony cages to continue abandons 1.2 million hens to a life of suffering. The Government needs to finally announce a ban on all caging of hens."

SAFE’s petition calling on the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor, to ban all forms of cage farming systems in New Zealand has reached over 18,000 signatures.

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