Federal Group's decision to ban the use of cage eggs in all of its kitchens is expected to put a reasonable dent in the battery hen industry.
The company buys about 70,000 dozen eggs a year for its businesses, including Hobart's Wrest Point Casino, Henry Jones Art Hotel, Launceston Country Club, Freycinet Lodge and luxury Saffire Resort.
"We are announcing a plan to move to cage-free eggs in all of our businesses by 2015," Federal corporate affairs director Daniel Hanna said yesterday.
"While this change will come at an additional cost to our business, we believe that it is important for large companies like ours to take the lead."
In May, the State Government said Tasmania would become the first state to phase out battery hen farming, although it has not set a timeframe for the policy.
The announcement included an immediate ban on new battery hen operations and a cap on the number of existing hen cages.
The Government also said it would work with producers to "develop a transition plan".
The RSPCA said Federal's decision to phase out cage eggs showed there was business support for a Tasmanian ban on battery hen farming.
"This decision shows great leadership and means thousands of layer hens will live cage-free lives," RSPCA Tasmania chief executive Ben Sturges said.
Mr Hanna said Federal's kitchen staff used close to a million eggs a year, so the company had the ability to "shift the supply towards cage free eggs over the coming years".
It would work with suppliers to give them the chance to convert to cage-free production.
Tasmanian Commercial Egg Producers Association president John Groenewold said Federal had given producers enough lead-in time to get ready for new production methods.
By SALLY GLAETZER, The Mercury