A CAGE IS A CAGE IS A CAGE
Posted on January 1, 2023
by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze
It’s 2023, and the time is up for battery cages in New Zealand. No longer will hens be stuck inside tiny cages made out of wire on all six sides, so that their unwilling prisoners are forced to stand on sloping wire, can’t move more than a few inches, and can’t stretch their wings for their entire lives.
It’s great news, right? An unconscionably cruel method that treats sentient beings as production machines and denies their natural instincts is finally gone forever?
Battery cages are merely being replaced by slightly bigger prisons, called ‘colony cages’. Over the past ten years since the then National government announced a ban on battery cages from 2023, many egg producers have been re-housing their hens in colony cages, a caged system that includes “enrichments” such as perches, a nest area and a small rubber scratch pad. But the hens are still in a confined system, and still can’t adequately express their natural behaviours.
Even in free-range egg farming there is a shocking hidden cruelty that is economically necessary to making an income on eggs.
Egg farms can’t make a profit from hatching their own chicks so they purchase chicks from’ hatcheries’, where baby birds, as soon as they are peck out of their shells, are thrust into a frightening world of conveyor belts and metal machinery. As males can’t lay eggs, and don’t grow fast enough to be profitable for meat, they are killed just hours after hatching. They may be tossed into bins where they asphyxiate or slowly die of exposure and dehydration, or they are gassed to death. Sometimes they are thrown into a maceration machine. Yes, you read that correctly. Bouncing little baby male chicks are ground up alive.
“They may be tossed into bins where they asphyxiate or slowly die of exposure and dehydration, or they are gassed to death. Sometimes they are thrown into a maceration machine. Yes, you read that correctly. Bouncing little baby male chicks are ground up alive.”
As long as eggs are considered food, layer hens will be considered a food production unit rather than sentient beings, similar in many ways to you and I.
Will 2023 be the turning point where we stop considering other animals as food and begin to chart a course to veganism and a more humane, more sustainable world? If we truly care about living ethically, and do not want to cause suffering to others, then we must end not only industrialised farming such as egg farming, but all animal farming.