News Blog Articles Caged hen investigation proves new colony cages are cruel

Caged hen investigation proves new colony cages are cruel

April 6th, 2016

A brand new colony cage farm that supplies eggs to major New Zealand supermarkets has been exposed in an undercover investigation that shows extensive cruelty to hens.

 Filmed by investigators from Farmwatch, the footage shows: 

  • Hens trapped beneath perches and left to starve to death;
  • Dead hens left to rot alongside live hens;
  • Severely de-feathered hens living in overcrowded conditions.

 Conditions on the farm were so bad that of four hens rescued, two later died from their injuries.

Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says people will be shocked to learn that this facility contains the new colony battery cages, which are being phased in as a ‘humane’ alternative to standard battery cages. “This investigation not only reinforces the cruelty of caging hens for life, but also exposes attempts to dupe consumers into buying eggs produced by animals that have led a life of torment,” says SAFE executive director Hans Kriek.

“Customers at supermarkets like Countdown will be buying eggs from colony cage farms like this without even knowing they come from caged hens. There is a concerted effort to avoid revealing the truth to consumers. It is a scandal.”

John Darroch from Farmwatch says, “I was shocked by what we witnessed. Birds were trapped under perches that are supposed to offer welfare improvements and left to starve to death. You cannot look at these poor hens crammed together and morally justify the lives they are forced to lead. Cage eggs may be cheaper, but it is the birds that are paying a dreadful price. Hens in colony cages are no better off than those in battery farms.”

SAFE believes the Government’s lack of action on hen welfare means that supermarkets have also been slow to act. Countdown is owned by Woolworths Australia who committed to stop selling cage eggs there by 2018. SAFE has launched a campaign asking Countdown to do the same in New Zealand. The company has already  received hundreds of messages and comments on social media from concerned Kiwis asking them not to stock eggs from caged hens.


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