Mark Shelton with a free-range chook. He reckons every hen should be the same – uncaged.
Mark Shelton with a free-range chook. He reckons every hen should be the same – uncaged. Renee Pilcher

RSPCA is egg-ucating consumers

BUY cage eggs and you sentence a hen to a life of misery: this is the message from the RSPCA in a campaign launched this week to encourage Gympie region residents, and Australian consumers, to buy cage-free eggs.

The RSPCA is calling on all cage-free egg buyers to help it get more hens out of cages.

"No space to stretch their wings, barely enough room to move, and no nest in which to lay their eggs," Gympie shelter manager Vanessa Richardson said.

"This is the miserable life of a hen in a small wire cage. Would you buy cage eggs?"

RSPCA president Lynne Bradshaw said cage-free egg buyers were "already taking a stand against animal suffering and now we're asking them to take the RSPCA Cage-Free Challenge and help us convince their family and friends that cage free is the way to go".

Today, in Australia, more than 11 million hens were still confined to a life in barren battery cages with no opportunity to perch, scratch and forage, dust bathe or lay their eggs in a nest, she said.

"Denying hens opportunities to express natural behaviours is condemning them to a life of misery and distress," Ms Bradshaw said.

"That's why we're calling on cage-free egg buyers across the country to take the challenge and help convert the nation.

"We've created downloadable education packs filled with posters, fact sheets, and fun, informative games for participants to use when they're talking to family and friends about cage-free eggs.

"As consumers we have the power to improve hens' lives."

Chook Facts

  • There are more than 11 million laying hens in cage production in Australia
  • They live their entire life in a space the size of an A4 sheet of paper - that's the equivalent of living your entire life in the space of a portaloo
  • Hens are inquisitive, intelligent creatures with big personalities
  • Hens confined to cages cannot express even their most basic of natural behaviours, such as stretching their wings.
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