“Any housing condition that confines an animal to the indoors, away from the sun and the grass and the opportunity to forage and live as nature intended, is inadequate for fulfilling a hen’s natural behaviours.”

Dr Jonathan Balcombe, Animal Behaviourist

Hens deserve kindness, compassion and the freedom to live a life worth living. Hens are intelligent, curious and socially complex animals with natural behavioural needs. In an outdoor environment, a hen will spend her day scratching at the ground, searching for food, dust bathing, stretching her wings and basking in the sun.

In New Zealand, close to three million hens are kept in small wire cages to produce eggs. These intensive farming conditions prevent hens from doing their most basic behaviours, which can cause hens to have serious welfare issues.



We are seeing incredible change for hens across New Zealand. Kiwis want to see hens free from cages and the major egg purchasers are listening. All supermarkets across the country are committed to phasing out the sale of eggs from caged hens. The country’s leading foodservice groups, café outlets and restaurant chains have also pledged to stop selling cage eggs.

Together, we can change this and create an Aotearoa where hens are treated as individuals and not products.


Uncover the Facts

Battery cages

A hen kept in a battery cage spends her entire life in a small overcrowded cage, inside a large, windowless shed.

Colony cages

Colony cages have been approved as the new caged system to replace soon-to-be illegal battery cages. Colony cages are larger versions of battery cages that are capable of housing many more hens.

The life of a caged hen

Of the 4.1 million egg-laying chickens in New Zealand, fifty-six per cent are caged.

SAFE is a member organisation of the Open Wing Alliance, a global coalition of organisations united with a common goal: to free hens from cages worldwide.

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Eat with kindness

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Help us continue helping animals in need

As a charity, SAFE is reliant on the support of caring people like you to carry out our valuable work. Every gift goes towards providing education, undertaking research and campaigning for the benefit of all animals. SAFE is a registered charity in New Zealand (CC 40428). Contributions of $5 or more are tax-deductible.