Food retailers under pressure to join growing cage-free eggs credit list

October 05, 2018

Food services and retail businesses that fail to respond to their customers and don’t stop buying eggs from cruel battery cage systems risk losing market share, according to the RSPCA’s Humane Food Manager Hope Bertram.

Some of Australia’s biggest names in food outlets have switched to only using cage-free eggs and the RSPCA wants these industry leaders to receive the credit and public support they deserve. In a nationwide campaign, RSPCA has begun ‘naming and faming’ hospitality and food retailers who no longer buy eggs from these cruel and archaic cage systems.

Most of Australia’s major egg producers continue to operate both caged and barn-laid systems, arguing that “consumer choice” is important. But the RSPCA wants consumers to think about what that means for chickens crammed into cages with no choice or chance to express natural behaviours.

Those on the “Cage Free and Proud” list so far that sell their food products in South Australia include: McDonald’s, Subway, Grill’d Healthy Burgers, Nando’s, Arnott’s and IKEA.

National retailers ALDI and Woolworths have committed to phasing-out cage eggs in store by 2025, while Coles last week announced they will phase-out cage eggs in store by 2023.

Cage Free and Proud

Ms Bertram described the food services industry as “absolutely the next frontier in the effort to rid Australia of battery cages”.

“While the cage egg industry and legislation lags behind, Cage Free and Proud is about positively recognising those businesses that have made the right decision by their customers and are helping free smart, social, egg laying hens from cruel battery cages.

“The past five years has seen a significant shift in consumer buying behaviour, with cage-free eggs now leading the market share in the supermarket.

“However, there are still more than 10 million hens whose entire lives are spent in a barren wire cage, with space around the size of an A4 piece of paper.

“The majority of those cage eggs aren’t going into household fridges; they are going into food services – such as cafes, restaurants and catering companies- as well as food manufacturing – packet mixes, mayonnaise, biscuits, cakes, and so forth.

“Australians continue to vote with their wallets when it comes to buying cage-free cartons at the supermarket, and they want cage-free when dining out and buying premade and pre-packaged food too.

“The commitment from these major brands shows there is no excuse for the continued use of battery cages.

“If these companies, each using or selling millions of eggs every year, can use affordable cage-free eggs on a large scale, there is no reason others can’t too.

“Australians expect animals to be given basic care: to be able to move, to stretch, to socialise, to behave naturally – essentially, to have a life worth living.

“The future of egg production is definitely cage free, and through this campaign and beyond, we expect to see many more brands make the switch to cage-free eggs so they can also be Cage Free and Proud.”

The Cage Free and Proud campaign includes print, outdoor, radio, television and digital advertising as well as other communications activities.

For more information, please visit the campaign website: rspca.org.au/cagefreeproud

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RSPCA South Australia