Battery chickens in cages
Despite the obviously complex logistics behind such a move, Woolworths has heeded the call for free-range eggs to be used in prepared foods (they already sell only free-range eggs) and the rollout of products begins this month. It is envisaged that by 2012 100% of all eggs used will be free-range. Woolworths is to be congratulated, as are those who took the time to add their voices to the call, especially given that the issue was largely ignored by mainstream media; only a few online organisations and blogs promoted the campaign.
This is the good news, but the fact remains that intensive farming practices continue. Were major South African retailers like Shoprite Checkers, Pick and Pay and Spar to follow Woolworths’ lead, this could change.
It is up to each of us. While public reaction to the Dear Woolworths campaign was largely supportive, some still believe that battery farming should be allowed. One argument is that a call for organic or free-range food is elitist
and pretentious. Is it elitist to believe that the tiny cages into which these birds are crammed are cruel?
for a look at the actual size of a battery hen cage. Is it pretentious to consider the debeaking of birds - part of the beak is sliced away with a red hot blade causing immense stress and agonising pain - barbaric? Watch a video of the process at www.activist.co.za/ag3nt/system/campaign_stopbatteryfarming_interview.php
Another argument is expense. While Woolworths’ change to free-range requires considerable investment the company has committed to not passing the extra expense to consumers. It is proven time and again that switching to sustainable practices saves money; ironically, when businesses choose ethics
over profit, they often see profits increase.
For nearly every example as to why battery farming and debeaking of birds should not be abolished, there is a viable alternative to show it is possible. Were this not the case, companies like Marks and Spencer would not have made the switch to free range as far back as 2002, and the European Union would not be imposing a ban on battery cages in 2012.
Activist’s Ethical Egg campaign now calls on other major South African retailers and the government to follow Woolworths and make the switch, and it is only through public demand that this is going to happen.
Take the time to make your voice heard by signing the online petition at http://www.activist.co.za/ag3nt/system/campaign_ethicaleggs.php.
It took me less than two minutes.