Laws on cage egg farming under review

Animals Australia says with support for cage egg farming waning, some egg producers are looking to export cage eggs overseas. Picture: Animals Australia

TIME is running out for Yanchep and Gingin residents to have a say on what improvements should be made to welfare standards for egg-laying hens and meat chickens.

Animal protection organisation Animals Australia says industry interests have been dominating the agenda and it was time for the public to raise their voices for animal welfare standards to reflect community expectations.

Animals Australia’s campaign director Lisa Chalk said it was the first time in 17 years that the laws allowing cage egg farming have been under review.

Ms Chalk said more than 90,000 Australians had made a submission through the Animals Australia website.

“It’s already the biggest response to a public consultation for farmed animals that Australia has ever seen,’’ she said.

“This demonstrates the depth of concern in the community about this issue.

She said as the expectations of the community had changed significantly in the last decade with most Australians no longer buying cage eggs.

“With support for cage egg farming waning, some egg producers are now looking to export cage eggs overseas.

“A legal ban on battery cages would ensure Australian hens aren’t condemned to suffer in cages to lay eggs for other countries.’’

On Tuesday, January 23 Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan held a roundtable with poultry industry leaders and animal welfare groups to help guide the Western Australian government’s position on proposed national animal welfare standards for poultry.

Ms MacTiernan organised the roundtable after saying the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry made little improvement to the welfare standards of egg-laying and meat chickens.

Representatives from the Commercial Egg Producers’ Association WA, the WA Poultry Association, the WA Chicken Meat Council, the WA Broilers’ Association, RSPCA and Animals Australia were invited to put forward their positions on the draft standards, with a focus on conditions for egg-laying chickens.

She said the roundtable would help to shape the WA government’s formal submission to the draft standards.

Egg Farmers of Australia has been contacted for comment.

Public consultation for the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry closes at 5pm on Monday, February 26.

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