Hens are smart, curious and social animals.  When confined to a barren battery cage, they suffer immensely throughout their lives.

In Australia, over 10 million hens suffer in battery cages every year. This is possibly Australia's worst animal welfare issue, but something that every Australian can do something about.

 

The welfare issues of battery cages

For a hen to have a good life, she needs the freedom to move around, to stretch, flap her wings, perch and bathe in dust to keep her skin and feathers clean and healthy. Importantly, she needs to be able to lay her eggs in a nest.

Battery cages, which are approximately the same size as an A4 sheet of paper, prevent hens from being able to exhibit any of these natural behaviours.

Battery cages are being phased out all over the world. But in Australia, with each state and territory having their own set of poultry industry codes, there is no consistency, and no movement by any state to move towards banning battery cages.

The national Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry are currently under review for the first time in over a decade.

This is the time for state and territory governments to step up, acknowledge the science, respond to the community, and finally end this cruel and outdated farming practice.

 

What needs to change

The RSPCA has been calling for an end to the battery cage in Australia for decades.

We advocate for a transition to cage-free production systems that meet all the hens’ health and welfare needs while allowing them to exhibit important natural behaviours.

In addition to calling on governments to phase out the battery cage, the RSPCA encourages Australians to support those producers doing the right thing, by choosing cage-free eggs on the supermarket shelf, as ingredients in grocery products, and when you’re eating out.

The RSPCA is also working closely with farmers committed to producing cage-free eggs, through the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme. Since releasing our first animal welfare standards for layer hens in 1996, more than 1.4 million hens have benefitted from better conditions on farm.

 

RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme logoHow you can help

There are a number of ways you can help to support cage-free conditions for hens:

  1. Look for the RSPCA Approved logo on eggs on the supermarket shelf.
    RSPCA Approved eggs come from farms that have committed to providing better welfare conditions for their hens, which means they can exhibit natural behaviours. Most importantly, battery cages are not allowed.
     
  2. Choose Wisely - support cafes and business who choose cage-free eggs in their ingredients.
    When dining out or order food, always ask if the eggs, and any items containing eggs, are cage-free. Support cafes, restaurants and businesses who have committed to using cage-free products.

Check out these Cage-free and Proud businesses

More info on RSPCA's Choose Wisely initiative