Animal welfare group SAFE have launched a marketing campaign asking for colony cages to be banned in New Zealand.
Battery cages, which may home between 4 and 10 egg-laying hens, will likely be phased out by the tip of subsequent yr, however the bigger colony cages are nonetheless authorized.
SAFE marketing campaign supervisor Jessica Chambers mentioned there have been 2.3 million hens residing in colony cages.
Confining hens was not solely merciless however utterly pointless, she mentioned.
“Our Animal Welfare Act states that animals should have the flexibility to carry out regular behaviours.
“That is the regulation, however a hen in a colony cage, she will be able to’t do any of her regular behaviours and people embrace scratching on the earth, foraging, stretching her wings, shifting round freely or avoiding aggressive hens within the cages so mainly it is so extremely restrictive and there is so few enrichments out there to them.
“They cannot carry out their regular behaviours, which mainly signifies that colony cages are in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.”
Some within the business had been shifting away from using cages but when the federal government banned them it will drive the hand of these nonetheless utilizing them, Chambers mentioned.
“World wide we’re seeing these cages being banned. But right here in New Zealand, no motion is being taken so we’re utilizing this marketing campaign as a possibility to get help from the general public to signal our petition calling on the federal government to ban the caging of all hens.”
However Poultry Business Affiliation and Egg Producers Federation govt director Michael Brooks mentioned colony cages had been value efficient for firms and shoppers.
“Colony cages are lawful below the New Zealand Layer Hen Code of Welfare. Certainly the report that was launched on the time acknowledged that they supplied equal or total superior welfare along with barn and free vary,” Brooks mentioned.
“Plenty of farmers have adopted the system in New Zealand. Certainly, 29 % of the layer hens in New Zealand are in colony cage methods.”
Agriculture minister Damien O’Connor mentioned the federal government had no plans to ban colony cages at this stage.
The code of welfare for layer hens was developed by the Nationwide Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and took into consideration worldwide greatest follow, O’Connor mentioned.