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Cage-Free Eggs

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Deconstructing the Myth

This article from Australia demonstrates the many problems that arise when advocates enter complex collaborative arrangements with an industry that exploits the very beings those advocates have pledged to protect. In this case, an animal advocacy organization not only endorses an animal product, but also collects a 2% commission on all sales of that product. By using its good name to sell the public on the virtues of the product, and then collecting a share of profits that result, the organization sends the message that animal advocacy and animal exploitation are compatible, and even complementary, activities. This engagement in conflict of interest compromises the organization's credibility, confuses the public, and long term, is likely to have the effect of blurring the line between right and wrong to the point that it all but disappears.

To learn about the hidden truth of the egg industry, see the slide show Cage Free Eggs: Behind the Myth."

To learn more about the animal welfare industrial complex, read Invasion of the Movement Snatchers? Doublethink Meets Doublefeel as Happy Meat Comes of Age

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

--William Shakespeare


Sun-Herald photo caption: Clipped...barn-layer chickens from Buchanan

Our big appetite for eggs

The public assumes that because these eggs have been endorsed by the RSPCA that they are cruelty-free and welfare-friendly--sadly, in this instance, this is not the case.

Source: THE SUN-HERALD by Maxine Frith   Mar 2008   3/2/2008
Click here for direct link to source


The RSPCA is endorsing a range of eggs which Animal Liberation says are laid by chickens kept in inhumane conditions.

The RSPCA gives its official seal of approval to Pace Farm barn-laid eggs.

It receives 2 per cent of the wholesale price of the eggs, which are sold under its "choose wisely" accreditation scheme.

But pictures obtained by The Sun-Herald show hens at a Pace Farm facility in Buchanan, near Newcastle, in cramped conditions with no outside access.

Many have large amounts of feathers missing where they have pecked each other, a sign that experts say shows they do not have enough space.

The birds have also had their beaks clipped - a practice known as "debeaking" which involves cutting the beak with a heated blade in order to stop the birds cannabalising each other.

Campaigners have called on the RSPCA to stop endorsing all barn-laid eggs - not just those produced by Pace Farm - saying customers are being misled about the welfare standards behind such products.

An Animal Liberation spokeswoman said the group was shocked by the conditions at the Buchanan facility.

"They are exhibiting the type of behaviour that is normally associated with caged birds," she said.

"The public assumes that because these eggs have been endorsed by the RSPCA that they are cruelty-free and welfare-friendly - sadly, in this instance, this is not the case."

Barn-laid eggs do not have to conform to the same criteria as free-range products, where the hens must have access to outside areas during the day. Barn-layer birds are kept inside constantly, in tiers, though not in cages. It is intended that they have more space to move around and to nest naturally.


Ms Neil confirmed the RSPCA endorsed beak clipping of birds at the Buchanan facility.


Animal Liberation said the RSPCA standard gives each bird an amount of space equivalent to a piece of A3 paper.


Pace Farm is the biggest battery egg producer in the southern hemisphere but also has free-range and barn-laid products.

A spokesman for the company refused to comment on the allegations or the pictures, which were taken a week ago.

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