LAST UPDATED: 5 April 2016
There's an emerging trend among Australian supermarkets — and it's bad news for the cage egg industry. Coles and Woolworths have both made commitments to reduce the number of cage eggs over several years. But one IGA supermarket in Victoria has one-upped the big two by removing all factory farmed eggs (both 'cage' and 'barn') from sale — effectively overnight. The decision came in response to recent video evidence of abused and neglected hens trapped inside an 'Egg Corp Assured' cage egg facility.
"I don't care what anybody advises me anymore. I can't morally justify supporting that industry." — Warrandyte IGA owner Julie Quinton
Bracing for a backlash for the snap decision, Julie has instead been overwhelmed by universal public support since making the positive announcement.
It's no wonder. Millions of people around the world have been moved by these incredible pictures of 'forgotten' battery hens, trapped deep in the bowels of a factory farm that supplies Australia's biggest egg company. And when animals who live among towers of rotting excrement have a better quality of life than those still 'in the system' — thousands of people are asking: how is the battery cage still legal?
In many countries, this cruel farming system is outlawed. It's time it was banned in Australia too. But with Australian laws failing to keep pace with public sentiment, scientific understanding — and common decency — it's up to each of us to use our power to free hens from suffering.
Here are a few easy ways:
- Thank businesses like Quinton's IGA for refusing to support the cage egg industry.
- Become a savvy shopper. Know what you're buying into by downloading our egg labelling cheat sheet — and share it with your friends.
||Cage||Barn laid and RSPCA Approved Indoor1||Certified free range2 and RSPCA Approved Outdoor1||Certified organic3|
|Are hens confined in cages?||YES||NO||NO||NO|
|Are hens provided with a nest/perch?||NO||YES||YES||YES|
|Do hens have space to flap their wings/exercise?||NO||YES (restricted)4||YES||YES|
|Do hens have access to an outdoor range?||NO||NO||YES||YES|
|Are hens allowed to be 'debeaked'?||YES||YES||MAYBE
(depends on certification body)3
|Are male chicks killed at birth?**||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Are hens sent to slaughter from 18 months old?**||YES||YES||YES||YES|
Sometimes one polite chat (or a single photo) can be enough to inspire change. Next time you shop, why not start a conversation with your local supermarket, encouraging them to follow Quinton IGA's lead!