For the first time in our history, sales of cage-free eggs are surpassing cage eggs.
The Australian Egg Corporation’s latest annual report - just released - seems to confirm we’re (slowly) winning the fight against battery cages, as their numbers continue to fall.
This is despite the cage-egg industry continuing efforts to promote eggs from barren battery cages.
Less than half the eggs sold at supermarkets in Australia now come from battery cages. Though at 49.5%, that number is still too high and equates to around 11 million smart and social layer hens that are each confined to a space less than the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
Also interesting is the plummeting value of battery cage eggs in the grocery marketplace.
Cage eggs now account for just a third of total sales value, with barn-laid and free range eggs making up almost 60% (learn more about choosing higher welfare eggs here).
Why the egg industry continues to try and justify keeping hens in battery cages, is something I’ll never understand.
But until the industry catches up, it’s up to us consumers to be smarter, and it’s great to know that – together - we’re actually making a difference.
So if you’re already buying cage-free eggs, congratulations! You’re part of the solution, and you’re on the winning team :)
Battery cage producers and lobbyists will tell you we need cage eggs because they’re more affordable.
Don’t buy it.
As the industry’s own report now shows, most of us are now buying cage-free eggs anyway.
Why? Because, based on average consumption, switching to cage-free eggs will cost about $22 a year. And $22 a year is not a lot to pay to give layer hens a better life.
Remember also, that even if you’re buying cage-free eggs by the carton, the vast majority of battery cage eggs are being hidden in your mayonnaise, sauces, cake mixes, cafés and restaurant meals.
That’s why our purchasing power isn’t enough – we need a legislated end to battery cages for good.
While the scales are tipping in favour of a better life for layer hens, the fight to end battery cages is far from over.
International experience shows it’s only a matter of time before battery cages are relegated to the past, where they belong.
The question is, will government and industry be pro-active and embrace the opportunities, or will they continue to defy their own consumer’s expectations and cling to their cages?
If you haven’t already, add your voice to our call to end the battery cage.