Supermarket giant Countdown urged to have a heart for hensFebruary 12th, 2016
Just in time for Valentine’s Day SAFE is asking supermarket giant Countdown to ‘show the hens some love’ by phasing out the sale of all cage eggs. The animal advocacy organisation, joined by TV personality and entrepreneur, Suzanne Paul, will be asking people to sign a message on behalf of hens in a giant Valentine’s card in the Auckland CBD today, 12 February.
The action follows Countdown receiving hundreds of messages on social media from concerned Kiwis asking them not to stock eggs from caged hens. 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.
So far, Countdown has responded by saying there are not enough suppliers, in New Zealand for them to go entirely free-range however SAFE Campaigns Officer Abi Izzard says they are only asking for Countdown to commit to a phase out date of cage eggs, not take the step immediately.
“Other companies, both here and internationally, have expressed the same concerns but have managed to do it, such as McDonald’s New Zealand, so we believe it is achievable.”
“To keep hens confined to cages, unable to carry out an array of natural behaviours, is one of the worst forms of cruelty. As a major purchaser of animal products Countdown is in a position to help improve the welfare of layer hens – and do something that their customers will support.”
Standard battery cages will be phased out by 2022, but replaced by another type of cage, the colony battery cage, which SAFE argues is cruel since hens confined to these cages spend their lives crammed inside a wire cage with barely more space than an A4 piece of paper per bird. They cannot fulfil their natural instinct to scratch for food, dust-bathe or build a nest, and have to stand on a sloping mesh floor. A 2014 poll showed that 72% of Kiwis agree that colony cages are not acceptable. There are approximately three million layer hens caged in New Zealand and millions of their eggs are sold by Countdown each year.
SAFE is calling on consumers to use their voice and ask Countdown to commit to a date to end cage egg sales by emailing and posting a comment on social media. “People may not be aware of just how powerful they can be in these kind of situations. We can be the ones to create change and demand better standards for animals. Countdown would be foolish to ignore its customers,” says Ms Izzard.