What is a battery cage?
Battery cages are nothing more than legalised, institutionalised animal abuse.
They are small wire cages, with floors that slope downwards so eggs can roll down to be collected. Hens stand on this sloped wire floor for their entire lives and are provided food through the bars of the cage, often causing them to lose feathers on their chest and neck.
Hens are held inside sheds that often contain thousands of stacked cages. Cages are generally around 40cm high, with multiple hens crowded into each cage. Each hen will be given less room than the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
What is life like for a hen in a battery cage?
Scientific studies show that hens suffer severely in battery cages because of the constant restriction of movement, constantly standing on a wire floor, and because they are unable to carry out their natural behaviours. This extreme confinement means hens experience chronic pain from lesions, foot malformation, osteoporosis, bone fractures, and bone and muscle weakness.
Because hens are unable to nest in cages, distressed birds display stress and escape behaviours that can last up to four hours before laying. They cannot escape aggression from other stressed hens, sometimes leading to serious injury.
Will furnished cages be better?
No. The NSW Egg Industry revealed during the 2019 inquiry that their proposed definition of a furnished caged is eerily similar to the battery cage. In fact, the NSW Industry’s proposed definition for a furnished cage allows only 550cm2 per hen, the exact same space provided in a battery cage.
But the reality is this - a cage is a cage. No animal should be forced to live their life in a cage.