RSPCA Australia has today stepped up its call to end the battery cage, with the launch of a prominent national billboard campaign.
Concerned about public awareness of the more than 11 million layer hens still suffering in battery cages in Australia, the RSPCA says a disappointing response from the egg industry so far has led it to take bold action beyond the organisation’s more traditional methods of communication.
A dozen billboards in key locations across the country now depict the haunting black and white image of hens in a barren battery cage. The accompanying text is simple: ‘Battery cages cause suffering.’
RSPCA Australia Communications and Campaigns Lead Jane Speechley says the billboards are a key part of kick-starting the conversation with both the egg industry and the public.
“That battery cages cause suffering is the conclusion of an RSPCA scientific report on hen welfare.
“Earlier this year, we tried to meet with egg industry leaders to discuss a planned and achievable phase-out of battery cages – but they wouldn’t come to the table,” said Ms Speechley.
“We then released a report that brought together the wealth of scientific evidence proving that hens suffer in battery cages – and still, the egg industry is hanging onto battery cages” she said.
“These billboards are stating the simple truth, that battery cages cause suffering, a truth that is firmly based in science. It’s our hope that bringing the issue to the public’s attention will inspire change.”
On average, Australians eat 17 million eggs a day. Although many consumers are making the choice to buy cage-free when shopping, the majority of eggs used in the retail and manufacturing industries still come from hens who live a life confined to a battery cage.
People who support an end to the battery cage can add their voice to the call for an industry-wide phase out by visiting www.endthebatterycage.org.au.
“The egg industry needs to understand that this issue won’t go away until the cages do,” said Ms Speechley.
“By continuing to keep hens in battery cages, Australia is falling behind the rest of the developed world. If we want to be seen as a progressive country, we need to step up our animal welfare practices.
“The RSPCA remains very keen to work with the industry to achieve a phase-out, and if any producers would like to talk about it, our door is always open.
“At the same time, we’ll keep working to educate the Australian public.”
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.