Egg Corp admits plans to kill hens to inflate prices went too far

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 29 April 2015

Egg industry bosses have been left with egg on their faces after secret plans to mass-slaughter chickens and bury eggs were leaked to the public.

As though cramming sensitive chickens into tiny battery cages isn’t economically cut-throat enough, the Australian egg industry has admitted to hatching a plan to squeeze even more dollars out of hens — and unwitting consumers. Here are three things you need to know about the ACCC case that’s currently before the courts:

1. Egg producers were told to kill hens.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) to court, alleging they schemed to boost egg prices by advising producers to slaughter hens two weeks earlier than planned — and also later suggesting that producers dump or bury eggs instead of selling them.

Three chickens

2. You weren’t supposed to know about it.

Emails lodged by ACCC in court seemingly reveal efforts to keep the advice secret. This isn’t surprising, given that the Australian egg industry regularly trots out the excuse that it ‘needs’ to keep hens confined to cages to provide ‘affordable’ eggs. Yet taking action to reduce supply (this time allegedly even killing hens earlier) — is standard business practice according to the Chairman of NSW Farmers’ egg committee…

Laying hen

3. Hens are STILL being killed to keep margins high.

While this reported plan to kill hens ‘early’ for the sake of profit is shocking, the sad truth is that for an Australian laying hen, life is short and harsh. Once her egg production wanes, she is no longer economically valuable, and she’ll usually be sent to slaughter at only 18 months old — when naturally she could live up to 10 years.

ACCC should certainly hold AECL accountable for its actions, but the Australian community also needs to take the egg industry to task for cruelly cutting short the lives of millions of young hens each year.

Sick of being duped?