Broken bodies — broken promises

Take action Free hens from cages
Free hens from cages

Shocking colony cage exposé

Hens are curious and social birds who deserve a life worth living. They deserve to feel the sun on their backs, to be able to fully spread their wings and to have the freedom to move away from others in their flock when they choose to.

All of this is denied to the hens confined in cages to lay eggs on factory farms.


Shocking new footage reveals what has been hidden inside Northern Eggs, a colony cage factory farm. Hens are shown crammed into wire cages, some dying, others dead and rotting. Those still alive must walk over the rotting bodies of their cage mates. The eggs the surviving hens lay roll over the dead bodies to the conveyor belt that takes the eggs away to be sold.

Hens are suffering. And the eggs laid in these unhygienic conditions could end up for sale on the shelves of your local supermarket.

Content Warning: This video contains footage of hens kept in colony cages. Some viewers may find the content distressing.

Footage courtesy Farmwatch


Hens kept in cages are denied everything that makes life worth living. This leads to extreme boredom and frustration, which can cause them to attack their cage mates. In nature, hens at the lower end of the pecking order can avoid being pecked by simply moving away from aggressive hens in their Inside a cage, a submissive, sick or injured hen has nowhere to go. She can be repeatedly attacked until seriously injured or dead. Once a hen is dead, her cage mates have to trample over her body, because they have so little room.

Colony cages have been promoted by the egg industry as being better for hens than battery cages, but in reality, they are for the industry’s benefit, not the hen’s . Colony cages have already been banned in some countries overseas, but in New Zealand, the egg industry is behind the times – colony cages have only begun to be used here in the last few years.

Caring consumers are demanding change. Due to pressure from their customers and campaigning from SAFE, all our supermarkets have made commitments to stop selling eggs from any type of caged hens by 2026 at the latest. They know that caring New Zealanders won’t stand for cage cruelty.  So, why is the egg industry fighting the tide of change?

Because they can. Colony cages are legal here and despite promises, there are no official plans to phase them out.

Both Labour and the Greens promised to ban colony cages if they were elected.  It’s now our Government’s ‘year of delivery,’ and nothing has been done for the hens. Together, we can hold them to their promise and end this appalling cruelty once and for all.

We’ve made an official complaint to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), requesting they undertake an investigation of Northern Eggs. Farmers are required to remove sick or dead birds from cages every day. Yet, the footage taken inside Northern Eggs clearly shows dead hens that had been left to rot for some time.

We can’t rely on the egg industry or MPI to protect the welfare of hens. In 2016, SAFE made a complaint about rotting bodies in a Waikato colony cage farm and no one was ever held accountable.

That is why it is so important that you raise your voice for hens. Together we will get these barbaric colony cages banned – and resign them to the history books. Just like we’ve done with battery cages.

Tweet at Labour and Greens

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Message Labour and Greens on Facebook or write a post on their wall asking them to to fulfil their election promise to ban colony cages.

Use your own words or copy and paste the suggestion below:

You made a promise to New Zealanders that if elected, you would ban the caging of hens. After seeing the newly released colony cage exposé, it’s clear hens are still suffering. When will you follow through with your pre-election promise and finally ban the caging of hens?

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