Egg body slams ALDI cage free stance

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ALDI’s decision to phase out cage eggs from its stores is not supported by everyone in the Australian egg industry. ALDI’s decision to phase out cage eggs from its stores is not supported by everyone in the Australian egg industry. ALDI’s decision to phase out cage eggs from its stores is not supported by everyone in the Australian egg industry.

While many Australian consumers have welcomed ALDI’s decision to phase out cage eggs from its stores, the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) says it is disappointed.

 

Cage eggs accounted for 51 percent of all grocery retail egg sales and close to 70 percent of total egg sales in March this year, according to AECL, a marketing and research body.

AECL managing director James Kellaway believes ALDI is ignoring consumer demand by phasing out cage eggs.

"With cage eggs consistently accounting for around 50 percent of retail sales, it is frankly absurd that ALDI is restricting their customer’s right to exercise choice," Kellaway says.

"The egg farming industry wishes to continue to supply eggs from cage, barn-laid and free-range farming systems, in line with consumer preferences."

Free range eggs also cost more, so the decision will drive the price up for customers, according to AECL.

Kellaway is unconvinced about the negative impact that some people believe the confinement of hens has on the animals.

"Research clearly shows that the key to good welfare outcomes for hens is good farm management and that there is no variation in hen stress levels across cage, barn and free-range egg farming systems," Kellaway says.

The Australian egg industry does prioritise animal welfare, and actively supports farmers to meet higher welfare standards, according to AECL.

The industry’s national quality assurance scheme, Egg Corp Assured, sets strict criteria to protect the health and welfare of hens and ensure the quality and safety of eggs in all Australian egg farms.

More than 100,000 people wrote to ALDI, signed petitions and left comments on the ALDI Facebook page, before the supermarket giant announced the move.

Animals Australia campaign director Lyn White says all animal protection groups are united in their call for the battery cage to be phased out by all supermarkets.

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

"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."

RSPCA Australia also congratulated ALDI on listening to the concerns of Australian consumers and committing to supply only cage-free eggs in its stores by no later than 2025.

"ALDI’s decision to phase out cage eggs will contribute to ending the inhumane practice of confining hens in cages," RSPCA Australia chief executive Heather Neil says.

 

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