Unscrambled: The hidden truth of hen welfare

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There are over 25 million hens, plus millions of male chicks, who are used by the Australian egg industry every year. 

This industry is divided across three primary farming methods – battery cages, barn-laid and free range. This separation in farming styles has led to eggs becoming one of the most confusing and debated animal products on the market.

In ‘Unscrambled: The hidden truth of hen welfare in the Australian egg industry’, Voiceless has assessed the key animal protection issues with the use of battery cages, barn-laid and free range systems from an animal welfare and scientific perspective.

Specifically, this Report reviews:

  • Welfare concerns of battery cages, and the need for a phase out;
  • Failure of current government regulations;
  • International standards and progress in Australia;
  • Comparison of egg farming: battery cage, barn-laid and free range; and
  • Inherent cruelties in egg farming across all production systems – cage, barn-laid and free range. See the Infographic.

Voiceless wrote this Report as we believe it will be an important tool to create much-needed change for the treatment of egg-laying hens and their chicks in Australia.

Australia has fallen behind other nations when it comes to layer hen welfare, so the time has come for us to evolve to a better standard.

Battery cages have been banned, or are being phased out, in a number of global markets due to the severe welfare issues inherent in their use, including most member states of the European Union, New Zealand and Switzerland. 

This Report also comes at a time when there is real opportunity for significant animal welfare advancements in the egg industry, as for the first time in 15 years, the Poultry Code is under review.

Real change relies, however, on co-operation between industry, advocates, consumers and government, to not simply accept the status quo but have the courage to recognise that change is urgently needed.

Unscrambled provides a greater insight into hen suffering, will hopefully promote a wide-ranging and informed public debate about what sort of egg industry the people of Australia want and how we can achieve it.

Preview the Report below

V'LESS_Egg_WEB_FINAL_070617

The report has been reviewed by six leading animal welfare experts from Voiceless’s Scientific Expert Advisory Council and endorsed by the following major animal protection organisations:

If you would like to order print copies of Unscrambled, or any of Voiceless's reports, please email info@voiceless.org.au