The number of Australians concerned about the welfare of battery-caged layer hens has grown to 3 in every 4, and an overwhelming 8 in 10 of us want to see battery cages phased out.
Those are among the momentous findings of independent new research commissioned by the RSPCA, which also found that for 65% of Australians, concern over battery cages impacted upon their decision whether to buy or eat eggs.
Previous research conducted in 2015 found around 2 in 3 Australians were concerned about the welfare of hens in battery cages, that figure now growing to 3 in 4 in just two years.
“These figures should be very concerning to the egg industry indeed,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil.
“It would be a very foolish business that ignored the revelation that more than 8 in every 10 Australians opposed one of its major business practices,” said Ms Neil.
“Furthermore, I would think barn and free-range egg farmers would be gravely concerned about the damage battery cages are doing to their reputations and the consumer’s likelihood to buy or eat eggs,
“The RSPCA commissioned this research expecting to see increasing concern, and knowing the majority of the community support our opposition to battery cages these results confirms that we really do represent the majority of Australians,
“The bottom line is, the battery cage industry can’t continue to function with such severe and growing public opposition to its cruel farming practices,
“Unless the egg industry and governments act now to commit to a phase-out of battery cages, it appears there’s only one way for the egg industry to go, and that’s down,” said Ms Neil.
The results come as new draft Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry are about to be released for public consultation.
The draft Standards will govern how around 700 million layer hens, meat chickens, turkeys, ducks and other birds are farmed in Australia every year for the next 15 years or more.
The Standards are expected to capitulate to the cage egg industry’s demands to continue the use of cruel battery cages indefinitely, despite an overwhelming body of international scientific evidence against the system, which has led most developed nations to end their use.
The research was conducted in November 2017 by McCrindle Research as part of their regular Omnibus polling, and is based upon a representative sample size of just over 1,000 Australians.
To join the RSPCA’s movement to end the battery cage, visit www.endthebatterycage.org.au.