NSW battery hen farm exposed for cruelty … again

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated 19 August 2014

A farm that supplies eggs to Australia’s biggest egg producer has again been exposed for multiple animal welfare breaches.

Last year, Pace Farms was fined $3,000 for overcrowding in cages at the facility in Corowa, NSW. New evidence provided to Animals Australia has revealed hens still living in appalling conditions and again, more hens per cage than regulations allow. A complaint, supported by extensive visual evidence, was promptly lodged with the RSPCA.

Dozens of birds, many in poor condition, were discovered abandoned in manure pits below the cages, without access to food or water. The severely de-feathered animals appeared to be surviving on scraps, beetles and eggs.

Animals Australia said people will be shocked to learn that this facility is part of the egg industry’s quality assurance program, Egg Corp Assured, an endorsement that assures consumers that eggs are ‘produced under strict guidelines’ and with regard for ‘hen health and welfare’.

“That twice in fourteen months this facility has been found overstocking birds in cages, shows why industry auditing systems cannot be trusted," said Animals Australia Campaign Director, Lyn White.

“This case not only reinforces the cruelty of the battery cage but reveals why independent auditing is desperately needed given the ongoing failure of industry and government to enforce even the most basic standards."

Animals Australia said animal protection groups are united in their call for the battery cage to be phased out.

“Continuing to confine millions of birds this way in Australia is indefensible, especially when other countries have long recognised and acted on this cruelty."

“You cannot look at these poor hens crammed together and morally justify the lives they are forced to lead. We bring these birds into this world only to suffer. Cage eggs may be cheaper, but it is the birds that are paying a dreadful price.

Animals Australia said the promised review of the battery cage is four years overdue, adding that in the absence of a ban, the only way Australians can ensure they are not supporting this type of cruelty is to not buy cage eggs.

This case is currently under investigation by the RSPCA.

Animals Australia: Pace cage egg facility investigation — media resources.