An exposé which aired on Newshub Live at 6pm last night showed dying, dead and rotting hens on a Whangārei colony cage farm.
Footage provided to animal rights organisation SAFE captured the appalling conditions birds face in the cage-egg industry. The footage was filmed on a colony cage farm by volunteer investigators who found the dead bodies of hens in various stages of decomposition, as well as countless birds severely de-feathered and stressed. The farm supplies the ‘Morning Harvest’ brand of eggs.
SAFE Campaigns Manager Marianne Macdonald says the footage shows the reality for birds confined to colony cages.
"This shocking footage bears witness to the daily reality of the cage-egg industry," says Macdonald.
"It’s incredibly stressful to confine hens in cages like this. Due to boredom and frustration hens will often harass, peck and even kill each other. As a result, caged birds have the sensitive tips of their beaks cut off to reduce potential harm to other hens."
"The conditions on this farm are particularly concerning. Dead hens have been left to rot, begging the question, how often are these birds being monitored by farm workers? Hens are forced to walk over the rotting bodies of their dead cage mates to reach food and water. This appalling treatment of animals is unacceptable."
In 2016 similar footage of dying, dead and rotting hens was captured at Heyden Farms in the Waikato. A complaint was made to the Ministry for Primary Industries, however the farm was let off with a warning. Heyden Farms is also a Morning Harvest supplier.
"We’ve written to the supermarkets asking them to investigate. When similar cruelty was exposed on a Morning Harvest supplier farm in 2016, Countdown took all Morning Harvest eggs sourced from that farm off their shelves."
"Colony cages are intended to replace battery cages, which will be illegal from 2022, but the reality is colony cages are just as cruel. New Zealanders reject this kind of cruelty, and as such, all New Zealand supermarkets will stop selling all cage eggs by 2026."
"The Labour Party and Green Party both promised to ban colony cages before the 2017 General Election. We urge all animal-loving Kiwis to demand the Government act on their pre-election promise."