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NZ battery hen egg producers suffer backlash

Producers of cage eggs are being warned to expect an outraged mob of consumers and animal activists utterly disgusted at the appalling treatment of battery hens on farms around New Zealand, according to

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE and members of the public will join the protest outside the 2011 Egg Producers Federation conference this week in Auckland, following the recent expose in TV One's Sunday programme.

Demonstrators will bring attention to the plight of the three million hens kept in barren battery cages. Hetty, the ex-battery hen mascot, will be maintaining a vigil inside a model battery cage, joined by members of the public from noon.

A staggering 88% of New Zealand's layer hens is housed in barren cages, and while the industry has signalled a phase-out of current cages, the industry is asking for twenty years to achieve this. SAFE director Hans Kriek says this is simply not good enough.

"If anyone wants to know the meaning of animal cruelty then they just have to take a look at the New Zealand egg industry. The Sunday programme proves there are massive problems within the egg industry. Even more shocking is to learn that MAF officials have been aware of farms using illegal cages and have failed to close them down," Kriek was quoted saying.

The draft Welfare Code for Layer Hens is currently under review, however SAFE says it understands that the code will allow the use of colony cages which are still inadequate and cruel.

The new code will be announced early in 2012 by the Agriculture Minister. In the meantime SAFE is encouraging consumers to send letters to the Minister calling on him to ban all battery cages by visiting Source: