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Battery hen campaign leaves a bad taste =514521&category=General&m=10&y=2006

October 4, 2006

NORTH WEST egg producers believe a graphic television advertising campaign targeting the battery hen industry has the potential to damage an already struggling industry.

Bede Burke yesterday said the ad by Animal Liberation was cryptic, out of touch and sensationalised in its campaign attacking the country's egg industry.

"It's not what we're about," Mr Burke said.

"I've not seen the ad myself, but have spoken to many egg producers who are outraged by it. From what I know, the ad flies in the face of what we are trying to do as an industry."

Mr Burke said the industry in the North West, particularly around the Tamworth region, was a strong one with at least 18 egg producers established in the area.

Australian Egg Corporation managing director James Kellaway said egg farmers cared deeply about the welfare of their hens and were outraged to see them portrayed in such a brutal and thoughtless manner.

"Egg farmers should not be subject to these types of unthinking attacks by activist organisations," he said.

"Australia has a number of different systems of egg production including cage, free range and barn laid to satisfy the varying needs and preferences of consumers. Regardless of the production system used, the welfare of egg-laying hens is a top priority for Australian farmers.

"They know that keeping their hens healthy, happy and safe underpins the long-term sustainability of their entire farming enterprise."

Mr Burke added that caged systems provide many welfare benefits to hens compared to other methods including reduced cannibalism, better disease control, protection from predators and lower overall mortalities.

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