Did you know approximately 4.7 billion eggs were produced in Australia last year? That's a lot of very busy hens.
Did you also know that nearly 70 per cent of these eggs come from hens in cages? Cages that provide less space than an A4 piece of paper per bird. That's too small for hens to even stretch their wings - one of the basic, most natural behaviours that make a hen, a hen.
In Australia, the industrialisation of farming has cost layer hens dearly. The increase in demand and the need to produce food as efficiently and cost effectively as possible has resulted in many welfare compromises over the years - including barren battery cages for hens.
In Australia, there are approximately 16.3* million laying hens. Eleven million of these curious and busy birds are subjected to a life of continuous confinement in battery cages. The other 5.15 million, or approximately 30 per cent, live cage-free lives where they're able to stretch their wings and lay their eggs in a nest.
|Production system||Number of hens in 2010/11 (million)*||Number of eggs in 2010/11 (approx.)||Forecast number of hens in 2012 (million)*||Forecast number of eggs in 2012 (approx.)|
|Cage||11.13||3.34 billion||11.66||3.5 billion|
|Free range||4.08||1.22 billion||4.42||1.32 billion|
|Barn||1.07||321 million||1.22||366 million|
* Source: AECL 2012