Subway’s foot-long step forward for hens

SAFE is pleased to congratulate Subway for announcing today that they will move away from using whole cage eggs in their 280 New Zealand stores, effective immediately. After talks with SAFE, Subway’s new policy is the latest in a series of trending cage-free commitments across the country. 

“SAFE has been working with Subway to eliminate cage-egg cruelty, so it’s fantastic they've embraced progress for hens,” says Mandy Carter, SAFE campaigns director. “Kiwis don’t support the cruel caging of hens for industry profit, so it’s good to see a growing number of businesses recognising the views of their customers.”

In a statement to SAFE, Ben Miles, spokesperson for Subway said, Responsible sourcing is important to Subway. We made the decision to go cage free in New Zealand because we know Kiwis are increasingly looking for higher-welfare options. The new policy for New Zealand follows similar moves at Subway in Australia, Europe, the U.S. and Canada where cage eggs are either already gone or currently being phased out.

Rival fast-food companies who are already cage-egg free, or have named a future phase-out date include McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Pita Pit, Habitual Fix, Hell Pizza, Burger King and Burger Fuel.

Subway’s announcement is another nail in the coffin for New Zealand’s outdated cage-egg industry. By law, conventional battery cages must be removed by egg producers by 2022. However, the NZ egg industry was set to replace these cages with equally cruel colony cages. Hens are crammed into wire cages with a space only about the size of a magazine on which to live their entire lives. Both battery and colony cages prevent hens from exercising many of their natural behaviors, including fully stretching their wings and dust bathing.

The tide is turning against cage cruelty. We’ve seen giant leaps forward for hens both here and overseas. The phasing out of cages is part of an international movement, much of it facilitated by animal advocacy groups around the world including members of the Open Wing Alliance, of which SAFE is a partner organisation.

We will continue working with other businesses to put an end to the cruelty of fowl colony cages.