In some truly scrambled news, battery cage eggs and chickens are going to be banned in Australia — but not any time soon.
The Department of Agriculture commissioned an Independent Poultry Welfare Panel to suss out the chicken sitch back in 2019. Where were they in Chicken Run, I ask?
Now the panel’s made some big suggestions, including the phasing out of battery cages. However that could take over a decade: until 2036. Not exactly a speedy process.
FYI: Battery cages are a housing system for egg-laying hens. The poor birds are confined in tight spaces while they lay. While in these cages, hens endure high levels of stress and unhappiness and can’t engage in their natural acts.
The Guardian reported that the news was “quietly announced” via Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry.
By 2036 at the latest, all caged laying hens must have 750cm sq of usable space for each chook that’s kept in a cage with two or more others. Still sounds so cooked (no pun intended)… poor feathery buggers.
If the hen is caged alone, the cage must allow for 1m sq of usable space.
These new guidelines won’t just affect poultry, by 2036 all farmed ducks will also have to be provided with access to bathing water.
Turns out there’s no current rule that states ducks can be allowed water other than drinking water.
Let ’em bathe, damn it!
RSPCA Australia’s chief executive Richard Mussell told the publication this will “eventually be a win for the millions of layer hens confined to battery cages.”
He also slammed the snail pace at which they announced the reform.
“These poultry standards and guidelines were under review for nearly seven years,” he said. “The phase out is the right result, and it should have been put in place six years ago. Millions more layer hens have had to endure barren battery cages as a result of these delays.”
New Zealand ended the use of battery cages earlier this year after announcing a 10-year phase-out process way back in 2012.
Meanwhile most of Europe stopped the use of battery cages in 2012, along with Mexico, Israel, and Canada.
The Humane Society of Australia, Animals Australia, and the Australian Alliance for Animals were all stoked to hear that battery cages will finally be banned, but also took issue with the 14-year phase-out period.
The publication added that the absolute turkeys at the Industry group the Egg Farmers of Australia had pushed for the phase-out to be extended to 2046.
To them I say: “Gobble fucking gobble!”