July 23, 2023.
Humane Society International (HSI) Australia has urged state governments to announce their phase-out timeframes for battery cages, after a national agreement to end the practice by 2036.
The group said the confinement of layer hens in barren cages was cruel and out of touch with community expectations, and called for a consistent and urgent approach across the nation.
The federal and state agriculture ministers endorsed the new Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry on Thursday, which calls for a battery cage phase out by 2036. However, each state will decide when to implement the change in their own jurisdictions.
WA Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis said she hoped to end battery cages in WA by 2032, four years ahead of the national deadline. The ACT has already banned battery cages since 2014.
HSI Australia’s Animal Welfare Campaigner Georgie Dolphin said Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world by continuing to cage layer hens, and praised consumers for choosing cage-free eggs or avoiding eggs altogether.
She said major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi had committed to phase out battery caged eggs by 2025, showing the growing demand for an end to cruel intensive production systems.
“Each year this continues to drag on, millions more hens continue to suffer, locked away,” she said. “We’re calling on the other states to step up as well—don’t chicken out and set a phase-out for well before 2036.”