Outraged community members from across the Hunter Valley have joined together today to protest against local member and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Jenny Aitchison’s support for the ongoing suffering of hens within the battery cage egg industry.
Last week’s release of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report into the “Use of Battery Cages for Hens in the Egg Production Industry” was quickly followed by revelations that under pressure from the Shadow Minister, NSW Labor backflipped on their original support for a time-based phase out of battery cages, allowing the industry to continue indefinitely.
“We expect our local members to reflect the views of the community, not roll over when faced with pressure from cashed-up industry lobby groups,” said Animal Justice Party Hunter Valley Regional Group Leader, Darren Brollo.
“Ignoring the concerns of your own constituents and expert evidence from welfare professionals in favour of supporting the cruel battery cage egg industry is disgraceful.
“Everyone here today is horrified that both Ms Aitchison and NSW Labor are choosing to condemn hens to a lifetime of imprisonment in shocking conditions. These suffering birds are unable to preen, ruffle their feathers or even turn around.
“NSW Labor’s decision means millions of hens will continue to be deprived of their natural behaviours, living on hard wire flooring, never able to stretch their wings, and facing a lifetime of broken bones, osteoporosis, stress and frustration,” said Mr Brollo.
The announcement that NSW Labor’s amendments also limited a potential future phase out to ‘conventional cages’ and recommend an industry-heavy ‘working group’ to decide on the definition of so-called higher welfare ‘furnished cages’, has led to additional community concerns regarding the future of NSW hens.
“The definition of ‘furnished cages’ that Ms Aitchison and NSW Labor are supporting appears almost identical to the battery cage: 550 cm of space per hen, imprisoned inside a cage, with no evidence of welfare improvements,” continued Mr Brollo.
“It is completely unethical for NSW Labor to go even further in supporting this animal cruelty by aiding industry’s desire to lie to consumers and hide the truth about the way hens are being treated in our state.
“A cage is still a cage. Our community will not support any Party who condones animal cruelty.
“NSW Labor must change their position on cages, and the Labor Shadow Minister for Agriculture, who appears to have made some shameless deals with industry must resign immediately,” said Mr Brollo.
PROTEST WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY NOVEMBER 8 FROM 12-1PM AT OFFICE OF JENNY AITCHISON MP (2/12 ELGIN ST, MAITLAND).
9th November 2019