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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Source: SAFE For Animals

From 1 January 2023, battery cages will be illegal in Aotearoa. However, colony cages, which also breach the Animal Welfare Act 1999, will remain legal. Colony cages severely restrict the ability for hens to display normal patterns of behaviour, which is a requirement under the Act.
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee reviewed the code of welfare for hens ten years ago and recommended a phase-out period and ban on battery cages due to welfare concerns and direct breaches of the Animal Welfare Act. In less than a year, this ban will come into effect for hens in battery cages, leaving 1.2 million hens to continue suffering in cramped colony caged conditions.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Jessica Chambers said the code of welfare is now overdue for another review.
“In Aotearoa, we’re phasing out a small, overcrowded cage to be replaced by another small, overcrowded cage, while overseas all forms of caging are being banned,” said Chambers.
“Hens have waited ten long years for battery cages to be banned in Aotearoa. While this is good progress, we’re deeply concerned for the millions of hens who will continue to be confined in colony cages.”
A 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.
“Colony and battery cages are being banned by dozens of countries around the world, and Aotearoa’s foodservice sector is moving faster than the Government to rid these cruel systems from the food supply chain.”
“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 is Aotearoa’s leading animal rights organisation.
We’re creating a future that ensures the rights of animals are respected. Our core work empowers society to make kinder choices for ourselves, animals and our planet.
 Footage of hens in colony cages (warning, this footage includes disturbing content).
– In July 2021, SAFE launched a petition calling on the Minister of Agriculture, Hon Damien O’Connor to ban all caged hen farming in New Zealand.
– As of December 2020, 4,149,000 hens were being farmed for their eggs in Aotearoa. Of these, 29% were in colony cages (1,203, 000 birds); 27% were in battery cages (1,148,550 birds); and 44% were in barn systems or on free-range farms (1,825,000 birds). The number of hens living in battery and colony cages totalled 2,351,550 birds.
– Colony cages are in breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The Act states that an animal must have the opportunity to display normal patterns of behaviour. Normal behaviour for hens includes but is not limited to nesting, dustbathing, moving around freely, basking in the sun and foraging. Hens living in highly intensive colony cage systems are not able to express these natural behaviours, therefore colony cages are in clear breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1999.
– A 2020 Colmar Brunton poll found 76% of New Zealanders polled said they were opposed to the caging of hens.
– Colony cages have been banned or are being phased out in parts of Europe, including Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark, Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic and the Walloon Region of Belgium. In the United States, nine states have already banned the sale and production of cage eggs.
– Almost all of Aotearoa’s leading egg purchasers have published cage-free egg commitments. This includes all leading supermarkets, restaurant chains, hotel companies, retail outlets, leading foodservice groups and catering companies – even Parliament’s catering provider.