As state and territory governments begin to consider whether battery cages should be phased out, research has found that no matter their education level or pay packet, Australians want to see hens freed from cruel battery cages.
Independent research commissioned last year by the RSPCA found income and education wasn’t necessarily a factor in influencing whether Australians are concerned about battery cages and want to see them phased out.
RSPCA Australia Senior Policy Officer Dr Jed Goodfellow said the results debunk one of the cage egg industry’s key arguments.
“The cage egg industry is often heard saying battery cages are a necessary evil in order to provide an affordable source of protein for lower-income earners,” said Dr Goodfellow.
“However, the data proves low-income earners don’t like battery cages any more than anyone else,
“The independent research shows that more than 77% of Australians who earn more than $156,000 a year are concerned or very concerned about egg-laying hens being kept in cages,
“Unsurprisingly, that number is around the same - 75% - for Australians earning less than $36,399 a year,
“When it comes to wanting to see a phase out of battery cages, a resounding 84% of people across both income brackets want an end to the practice altogether.
“Even when education levels are considered, 84% of Australians with an education of year 11 or below, through to 81% of post-graduate educated people, want to see a phase out of cages too.
“What this shows is the jig is up. The research sees through the cage egg industry’s tired lines and they can no longer blame Aussie consumers for their decision to keep hens confined to battery cages.
“The message from consumers is crystal clear, and if the egg industry wants to provide affordable protein, they need to instead focus on providing affordable cage-free options,” said Dr Goodfellow.
“It’s time for the industry to move with community expectations and provide affordable eggs that don’t cost a layer hen its freedom and welfare,
“There’s an important message here for state and territory governments too, who need to pay particular attention to these results as they start to consider whether battery cages should be phased out,
“Genuine concern for layer hen welfare and opposition to battery cages are highly represented across all demographics,” said Dr Goodfellow.
To have your say and help promote good farming practices, visit https://www.rspca.org.au/layer-hen-welfare.
To follow this issue, sign up to the RSPCA’s e-news at www.rspca.org.au.
The RSPCA is Australia’s leading animal welfare organisation and one of Australia’s most trusted charities. The RSPCA works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection.